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Mr. Charles C. O'Malley 

is' * 







The Mystery 


The Yellow Room 

Extraordinary Adventures of 

Joseph Rouletabille, 



Gaston LeRoux 





Copyright, 1908 


'■/ T;' 



I In which we Begin not to Understand . . 1 
II In which Joseph Rouletabille Appears for 

the First Time IS 

III " A Man has Passed like a Shadow through 

the Blinds" 22 

IV « In the Bosom of Wild Nature" .... 35 
V In which Joseph Rouletabille Makes a Re- 
mark to Monsieur Robert Darzac which 
Produces its Little Effect 41 

VI In the Heart of the Oak Grove .... 48 
VII In which Rouletabille Sets out on an Expe- 
dition under the Bed 64 

VIII The Examining Magistrate Questions 

Mademoiselle Stangerson . • • • • 76 

IX Reporter and Detective ••••••• 85 

X "We shall have to eat Red Meat— Now" . 96 
XI In which Frederic Larsan Explains how 
the Murderer was Able to get out of 

The Yellow Room 106 

XII Frederic Larsan's Cane 183 

XIII "The Presbytery has Lost Nothing of its 

Charm, nor the Garden its Brightness " 140 

XIV u I Expect the Assassin this Evening " • • 156 
XV The Trap 165 



XVI Strange Phenomenon of the Dissociation 

of Matter 180 

XVII The Inexplicable Gallery 184 

XVIII Rouletabille has Drawn a Circle between 

the Two Bumps on his Forehead . • 194 
XIX Rouletabille Invites me to Breakfast at 

the Donjon Inn 197 

XX An Act of Mademoiselle Stangerson • 213 

XXI On the Watch 219 

XXII The Incredible Body 230 

XXIII The Double Scent 235 

XXIV Rouletabille Knows the Two Halves of 

the Murderer 239 

XXV Rouletabille Goes on a Journey • . • 249 
XXVI In which Joseph Rouletabille is Awaited 

with Impatience 251 

XXVII In which Joseph Rouletabille Appears 

in all his Glory 26l 

XXVIII In which it is Proved that one does not 

Always Think of Everything ... 295 

XXIX The Mystery of Mademoiselle Stangerson 800 





Mystery of The Yellow Room 


In Which We Begin not to Understand 

IT is not without a certain emotion that I begin 
to recount here the extraordinary adventures 
of Joseph Rouletabille. Down to the present time 
he had so firmly opposed my doing it that I had 
come to despair of ever publishing the most curi- 
ous of police stories of the past fifteen years. I 
had even imagined that the public would never 
know the whole truth of the prodigious case 
known as that of "The Yellow Room," out of 
which grew so many mysterious, cruel, and sensa- 
tional dramas, with which my friend was so closely 
mixed up, if, k propos of a recent nomination of 
the illustrious Stangerson to the grade of grand- 
cross of the Legion of Honour, an evening journal 
— in an article, miserable for its ignorance, or 
audacious for its perfidy — had not resuscitated a 
terrible adventure of which Joseph Rouletabille 
had told me he wished to be for ever forgotten. 

" The Yellow Room ! " Who now remembers 

this affair which caused so much ink to flow fifteen 

years ago? Events are so quickly forgotten in 

Paris. Has not the very name of the Nayves trial 

1 1 


and the tragic history of the death of little Men- 
aldo passed out of mind? And yet the public at- 
tention was so deeply interested in the details of 
the trial that the occurrence of a ministerial crisis 
was completely unnoticed at the time. Now " The 
Yellow Room " trial, which preceded that of the 
Nayves by some years, made far more noise. The 
entire world hung for months over this obscure 
problem — the most obscure, it seems to me, that 
has ever challenged the perspicacity of our police 
or taxed the conscience of our judges. The solu- 
tion of the problem baffled everybody who tried to 
find it. It was like a dramatic rebus with which 
old Europe and new America alike became fasci- 
nated. That is, in truth — I am permitted to say, 
because there cannot be any author's vanity in 
all this, since I do nothing more than transcribe 
facts on which an exceptional documentation en- 
ables me to throw a new light — that is because, 
in truth, I do not know that, in the domain of 
reality or imagination, one can discover or recall 
to mind anything comparable, in its mystery, with 
the natural mystery of " The Yellow Room." 

That which nobody could find out, Joseph 
Rouletabille, aged eighteen, then a reporter en- 
gaged on a leading journal, succeeded in discover- 
ing. But when, at the Assize Court, he brought 
in the key to the whole case, he did not tell the 
whole truth. He only allowed so much of it to 
appear as sufficed to ensure the acquittal of an 
innocent man, The reasons which he had for his 
reticence no longer exist. Better still, the time 
has come for my friend to speak out fully. You 



are going to know all ; and, without further pre- 
amble, I am going to place before your eyes the 
problem of " The Yellow Room " as it was placed 
before the eyes of the entire world on the day 
following the enactment of the drama at the 
Chateau du Glandier. 

On the 85th of October, 1892, the follow- 
ing note appeared in the latest edition of the 
" Temps ": — 

"A frightful crime has been committed at the 
Glandier, on the border of the forest of Sainte- 
Genevifcve, above Epinay-sur-Orge, at the house 
of Professor Stangerson. On that night, while 
the master was working in his laboratory, an at- 
tempt was made to assassinate Mademoiselle 
Stangerson, who was sleeping in a chamber ad- 
joining this laboratory. The doctors do not 
answer for the life of Mdlle. Stangerson." 

The impression made on Paris by this news may 
be easily imagined. Already, at that time, the 
learned world was deeply interested in the labours 
of Professor Stangerson and his daughter. These 
labours — the first that were attempted in radi- 
ography — served to open the way for Monsieur 
and Madame Curie to the discovery of radium. It 
was expected the Professor would shortly read to 
the Academy of Sciences a sensational paper on 
his new theory, — the Dissociation of Matter, — 
a theory destined to overthrow from its base the 
whole of official science, which based itself on the 
principle of the Conservation of Energy. 

On the following day, the newspapers were full 
of the tragedy. The " Matin," among others, pub* 



lished the following article, entitled: "A Super- 
natural Crime": — 

" These are the only details," wrote the anony- 
mous writer in the " Matin " — " we have been able 
to obtain concerning the crime of the Chateau du 
Glandier. The state of despair in which Pro- 
fessor Stangerson is plunged, and the impossibil- 
ity of getting any information from the lips of the 
victim, have rendered our investigations and those 
of justice so difficult that, at present, we cannot 
form the least idea of what has passed in ' The 
Yellow Room ' in which Mdlle. Stangerson, in her 
night-dress, was found lying on the floor in the 
agonies of death. We have, at least, been able 
to interview Daddy Jacques — as he is called in 
the country — an old servant in the Stangerson 
family. Daddy Jacques entered 'The Yellow 
Room ' at the same time as the Professor. This 
chamber adjoins the laboratory. Laboratory and 
Yellow Room are in a pavilion at the end of the 
park, about three hundred metres (a thousand 
feet) from the chateau. 

" * It waB half -past twelve at night,' this honest 
old man told us, ' and I was in the laboratory, 
where Monsieur Stangerson was still working, when 
the thing happened. I had been cleaning and put- 
ting instruments in order all the evening and was 
waiting for Monsieur Stangerson to go to bed. 
Mademoiselle Stangerson had worked with her 
father up to midnight; when the twelve strokes 
of midnight had sounded by the cuckoo-clock in 
the laboratory, she rose, kissed Monsieur Stanger- 
son and bade him good-night. To me she said 



" bon soir, Daddy Jacques " as she passed into 
"The Yellow Room." We heard her lock the 
door and shoot the bolt, so that I could not help 
laughing, and said to Monsieur : " There 's Made- 
moiselle double-locking herself in, — she must be 
afraid of the * Bete du bon Dieul ' " Monsieur did 
not even hear me, he was so deeply absorbed in 
what he was doing. Just then we heard the dis- 
tant miawing of a cat. " Is that going to keep us 
awake all night? " I said to myself; for I must 
tell you, Monsieur, that, to the end of October, 
I live in an attic of the pavilion over The Yellow 
Room, so that Mademoiselle should not be left 
alone through the night in the lonely park. It 
was the fancy of Mademoiselle to spend the fine 
weather in the pavilion; no doubt, she found it 
more cheerful than the chateau and, for the four 
years it had been built, she had never failed to 
take up her lodging there in the spring. With 
the return of winter, Mademoiselle return? to the 
chateau, for there is no fireplace in The Yellow 

" * We were staying in the pavilion, then — 
Monsieur Stangerson and me. We made no noise. 
He was seated at his desk. As for me, I was 
sitting on a chair, having finished my work and, 
looking at him, I said to myself: "What a man! 
— what intelligence! — what knowledge!" I at- 
tach importance to the fact that we made no 
noise; for, because of that, the assassin certainly 
thought that we had left the place. And, sud- 
denly, while the cuckoo was sounding the half 
after midnight, a desperate clamour broke out in 



The Yellow Room. It was the voice of Made- 
moiselle, crying " Murder ! — murder ! — help ! " 
Immediately afterwards revolver shots rang out 
and there was a great noise of tables and furni- 
ture being thrown to the ground, as if in the 
course of a struggle, and again the voice of 
Mademoiselle calling, " Murder ! — help ! — Papa ! 
— Papa! — " 

" * You may be sure that we quickly sprang up 
and that Monsieur Stangerson and I threw bur- 
selves upon the door. But alas! it was locked, 
fast locked, on the inside, by the care of Made- 
moiselle, as I have told you, with key and bolt. 
We tried to force it open, but it remained firm. 
Monsieur Stangerson was like a madman, and 
truly, it was enough to make him one, for we 
heard Mademoiselle still calling " Help ! — help ! " 
Monsieur Stangerson showered terrible blows on 
the door, and wept with rage and sobbed with 
despair and helplessness. 

" * It was then that I had an inspiration. " The 
assassin must have entered by the window ! " I 
cried ; — "I will go to the window ! " and I rushed 
from the pavilion and ran like one out of his 

" * The inspiration was that the window of The 
Yellow Room looks out in such a way that the 
park wall, which abuts on the pavilion, prevented 
my at once reaching the window. To get up to 
it one has first to go out of the park. I ran 
towards the gate and, on my way, met Bernier 
and his wife, the gate-keepers, who had been at- 
tracted by the pistol reports and by our cries. 



In a few words I told them what had happened, 
and directed the concierge to join Monsieur 
Stangerson with all speed, while his wife came 
with me to open the park gate. Five minutes 
later she and I were before the window of The 
Yellow Room. 

" * The moon was shining brightly and I saw 
clearly that no one had touched the window. Not 
only were the bars that protect it intact, but the 
blinds inside of them were drawn, as I had my- 
self drawn them early in the evening, as I did 
every day, though Mademoiselle, knowing that I 
was tired from the heavy work I had been doing, 
had begged me not to trouble myself, but leave 
her to do it; and they were just as I had left 
them, fastened with an iron catch on the inside. 
The assassin, therefore, could not have passed 
either in or out that way; but neither could I 
get in. 

" * It was unf ortunate, — enough to turn one's 
brain! The door of the room locked on the in- 
side and the blinds on the only window also 
fastened on the inside; and Mademoiselle still 
calling for help! — No! she had ceased to call. 
She was dead, perhaps. But I still heard her 
father, in the pavilion, trying to break down the 

" * With the concierge I hurried back to the 
pavilion. The door, in spite of the furious at- 
tempts of Monsieur Stangerson and Bernier to 
burst it open, was still holding firm; but at 
length, it gave way before our united efforts, — 
and then what a sight met our eyes! I should 



tell you that, behind us, the concierge held the 
laboratory lamp — a powerful lamp, that lit the 
whole chamber. 

" * I must also tell you, monsieur, that The 
Yellow Room is a very small room. Mademoiselle 
had furnished it with a fairly large iron bedstead, 
a small table, a night-commode, a dressing-table, 
and two chairs. By the light of the big lamp we 
saw all at a glance. Mademoiselle, in her night- 
dress, was lying on the floor in the midst of the 
greatest disorder. Tables and chairs had been 
overthrown, showing that there had been a vio- 
lent struggle. Mademoiselle had certainly been 
dragged from her bed. She was covered with 
blood and had terrible marks of finger-nails on 
her throat, — the flesh of her neck having been 
almost torn by the nails. From a wound on the 
right temple a stream of blood had run down 
and made a little pool on the floor. When Mon- 
sieur Stangerson saw his daughter in that state, 
he threw himself on his knees beside her, utter- 
ing a cry of despair. He ascertained that she 
still breathed. As to us, we searched for the 
wretch who had tried to kill our mistress, and 
I swear to you, monsieur, that, if we had found 
him, it would have gone hard with him ! 

" ( But how to explain that he was not there, 
that he had already escaped? It passes all im- 
agination ! — Nobody under the bed, nobody be- 
hind the furniture I — All that we discovered were 
traces, blood-stained marks of a man's large hand 
on the walls and on the door; a big handkerchief 
red with blood, without any initials, an old cap f 



and many fresh footmarks of a man on the floor, 

— footmarks of a man with large feet whose 
boot-soles had left a sort of sooty impression. 
How had this man got away? How had he van- 
ished? Don't forget, monsieur, that there is no 
chimney in The Yellow Room. He could not have 
escaped by the door, which is narrow, and on the 
threshold of which the concierge stood with the 
lamp, while her husband and I searched for him 
in every corner of the little room, where it is 
impossible for anyone to hide himself. The door, 
which had been forced open against the wall, could 
not conceal anything behind it, as we assured 
ourselves. By the window, still in every way 
secured, no flight had been possible. What 
then? — I began to believe in the Devil. 

" * But we discovered my revolver on the floor ! 

— Yes, my revolver! Oh! that brought me back 
to the reality ! The Devil would not have needed 
to steal my revolver to kill Mademoiselle. The 
man who had been there had first gone up to my 
attic and taken my revolver from the drawer where 
I kept it. We then ascertained, by counting the 
cartridges, that the assassin had fired two shots. 
Ah ! it was fortunate for me that Monsieur Stang- 
erson was in the laboratory when the affair took 
place and had seen with his own eyes that I was 
there with him; for otherwise, with this business 
of my revolver, I don't know where we should have 
been, — / should now be under lock and bar. Jus- 
tice wants no more to send a man to the scaffold ! ' " 

The editor of the " Matin " added to this inter- 
view the following lines: — 



"We have, without interrupting him, allowed 
Daddy Jacques to recount to us roughly all he 
knows about the crime of The Yellow Room. We 
have reproduced it in his own words, only sparing 
the reader the continual lamentations with which 
he garnished his narrative. It is quite understood, 
Daddy Jacques, quite understood, that you are 
very fond of your masters ; and you want them to 
know it, and never cease repeating it — especially 
since the discovery of your revolver. It is your 
right, and we see no harm in it. We should have 
liked to put some further questions to Daddy 
Jacques — Jacques — Louis Moustier — but the 
inquiry of the examining magistrate, which is be- 
ing carried on at the chateau, makes it impossible 
for us to gain admission at the Glandier ; and, as 
to the oak wood, it is guarded by a wide circle of 
policemen, who are jealously watching all traces 
that can lead to the pavilion, and that may per- 
haps lead to the discovery of the assassin. 

44 We have also wished to question the concierges, 
but they are invisible. Finally, we have waited in 
a roadside inn, not far from the gate of the chateau, 
for the departure of Monsieur de Marquet, the 
magistrate of Corbeil. At half-past five we saw 
him and his clerk and, before he was able to enter 
his carriage, had an opportunity to ask him the 
following question : — 

44 * Can you, Monsieur de Marquet, give us any 
information as to this affair, without inconvenience 
to the course of your inquiry? ' 

44 4 It is impossible for us to do it,* replied Mon- 
sieur de Marquet. 4 1 can only «ay that it is the 



strangest affair I have ever known. The more we 
think we know something, the further we are from 
knowing anything ! ' 

"We asked Monsieur de Marquet to be good 
enough to explain his last words ; and this is what 
he said, — the importance of which no one will fail 
to recognise: — 

" ' If nothing is added to the material facts so 
far established, I fear that the mystery which sur- 
rounds the abominable crime of which Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson has been the victim will never be 
brought to light; but it is to be hoped, for the 
sake of our human reason, that the examination of 
the walls, and of the ceiling of The Yellow Room — 
an examination which I shall to-morrow intrust to 
the builder who constructed the pavilion four years 
ago — will afford us the proof that may not dis- 
courage us. For the problem is this : we know by 
what way the assassin gained admission, — he en- 
tered by the door and hid himself under the bed, 
awaiting Mademoiselle Stangerson. But how did 
he leave? How did he escape? If no trap, no 
secret door, no hiding-place, no opening of any 
sort is found ; if the examination of the walls — 
even to the demolition of the pavilion — does not 
reveal any passage practicable — not only for a 
human being, but for any being whatsoever — if 
the ceiling shows no crack, if the floor hides no 
underground passage, one must really believe in 
the Devil, as Daddy Jacques says ! ' " 

And the anonymous writer in the " Matin " 
added in this article — which I have selected as 
the most interesting of all those that were pub- 



lished on the subject of this affair — that the ex- 
amining magistrate appeared to place a peculiar 
significance to the last sentence : " One must really 
believe in the Devil, as Jacques says." 

The article concluded with these lines: "We 
wanted to know what Daddy Jacques meant by the 
cry of the Bete Du Bon Dieu." The landlord of 
the Donjon Inn explained to us that it is the par- 
ticularly sinister cry which is uttered sometimes at 
night by the cat of an old woman, — Mother An- 
genoux, as she is called in the country. Mother 
Angenoux is a sort of saint, who lives in a hut in 
the heart of the forest, not far from the grotto of 

"The Yellow Room, the Bete Du Bon Dieu, 
Mother Angenoux, the Devil, Sainte-Genevieve, 
Daddy Jacques, — here is a well entangled crime 
which the stroke of a pickaxe in the wall may dis- 
entangle for us to-morrow. Let us at least hope 
that, for the sake of our human reason, as the exam- 
ining magistrate says. Meanwhile, it is expected 
that Mademoiselle Stangerson — who has not 
ceased to be delirious and only pronounces one 
word distinctly, * Murderer ! Murderer ! ' — will 
not live through the night. " 

In conclusion, and at a late hour, the same jour- 
nal announced that the Chief of the Surete had 
telegraphed to the famous detective, Frederic Lar- 
san, who had been sent to London for an affair of 
stolen securities, to return immediately to Paris. 



In Which Joseph Rovletahille Appears for 
the First Time 

1 REMEMBER as well as if it had occurred yes- 
terday, the entry of young Rouletabille into my 
bedroom that morning. It was about eight o'clock 
and I was still in bed reading the article in the 
a Matin " relative to the Glandier crime. 

But, before going further, it is time that I pre- 
sent my friend to the reader. 

I first knew Joseph Rouletabille when he was a 
young reporter. At that time I was a beginner 
at the Bar and often met him in the corridors of 
examining magistrates, when I had gone to get a 
" permit to communicate " for the prison of Mazas, 
or for Saint-Lazare. He had, as they say, " a good 
nut." He seemed to have taken his head — round 
as a bullet — out of a box of marbles, and it is 
from that, I think, that his comrades of the press 
— all determined billiard-players — had given him 
that nickname, which was to stick to him and be 
made illustrious by him. He was always as red as 
a tomato, now gay as a lark, now grave as a 
judge. How, while still so young — he was only 
sixteen and a half years old when I saw him for the 
first time — had he already won his way on the 
press? That was what everybody who came into 



contact with him might have asked, if they had 
not known his history. At the time of the affair 
of the woman cut in pieces in the Rue Obers- 
kampf — another forgotten story — he had taken 
to one of the editors of the " Epoque," — a paper 
then rivalling the " Matin " for information, — 
the left foot, which was missing from the basket 
in which the gruesome remains were discovered. 
For this left foot the police had been vainly search- 
ing for a week, and young Rouletabille had found 
it in a drain where nobody had thought of looking 
for it. To do that he had dressed himself as an 
extra sewer-man, one of a number engaged by the 
administration of the city of Paris, owing to an 
overflow of the Seine. 

When the editor-in-chief was in possession of the 
precious foot and informed as to the train of in- 
telligent deductions the boy had been led to make, 
he was divided between the admiration he felt for 
such detective cunning in a brain of a lad of six- 
teen years, and delight at being able to exhibit, in 
the " morgue window " of his paper, the left foot 
of the Rue Oberskampf . 

" This foot," he cried, " will make a great head- 

Then, when he had confided the gruesome packet 
to the medical lawyer attached to the journal, he 
asked the lad, who was shortly to become famous 
as Rouletabille, what he would expect to earn as 
a general reporter on the " Epoque " ? 

" Two hundred francs a month," the youngster 
replied modestly, hardly able to breathe from sur- 
prise at the proposal. 



" You shall have two hundred and fifty," said the 
editor-in-chief ; " only you must tell everybody that 
you have been engaged on the paper for a month. 
Let it be quite understood that it was not you but 
the * Epoque ' that discovered the left foot of the 
Rue Oberskampf . Here, my young friend, the man 
is nothing, the paper everything." 

Having said this, he begged the new reporter 
to retire, but before the youth had reached the 
door he called him back to ask his name. The 
other replied: — 

" Joseph Josephine." 

" That 'a not a name," said the editor-in-chief, 
" but since you will not be required to sign what 
you write it is of no consequence." 

The boy-faced reporter speedily made himself 
many friends, for he was serviceable and gifted 
with a good humour that enchanted the most severe- 
tempered and disarmed the most zealous of his com- 
panions. At the Bar cafe, where the reporters 
assembled before going to any of the courts, or 
to the Prefecture, in search of their news of 
crime, he began to win a reputation as an un- 
raveller of intricate and obscure aff airs which found 
its way to the office of the Chief of the Surete. 
When a case was worth the trouble and Roulet- 
abille — he had already been given his nickname 
— had been started on the scent by his editor- 
in-chief, he often got the better of the most famous 

It was at the Bar cafe that I became intimately 
acquainted with him. Criminal lawyers and jour- 
nalists are not enemies, the former need advertise- 



ment, the latter information. We chatted together, 
and I soon warmed towards him. His intelligence 
was so keen, and so original ! — and he had a qual- 
ity of thought such as I have never found in any 
other person. 

Some time after this I was put in charge of the 
law news of the " Cri du Boulevard." My entry 
into journalism could not but strengthen the ties 
which united me to Rouletabille. After a while, 
my new friend being allowed to carry out an idea 
of a judicial correspondence column, which he was 
allowed to sign " Business," in the " Epoque," I 
was often able to furnish him with the legal in- 
formation of which he stood in need. 

Nearly two years passed in this way, and the 
better I knew him, the more I learned to love him ; 
for, in spite of his careless extravagance, I had 
discovered in him what was, considering his age, 
an extraordinary seriousness of mind. Accus- 
tomed as I was to seeing him gay and, indeed, often 
too gay, I would many times find him plunged in 
the deepest melancholy. I tried then to question 
him as to the cause of this change of humour, but 
each time he laughed and made me no answer. One 
day, having questioned him about his parents, of 
whom he never spoke, he left me, pretending not 
to have heard what I said. 

While things were in this state between us, the 
famous case of " The Yellow Room " took place. 
It was this case which was to rank him as the lead- 
ing newspaper reporter, and to obtain for him the 
reputation of being the greatest detective in the 
world. It should not surprise us to find in the one 



man the perfection of two such lines of activity if 
we remember that the daily press was already be- 
ginning to transform itself and to become what it 
is to-day — the gazette of crime. 

Morose-minded people may complain of this; 
for myself I regard it a matter for congratula- 
tion. We can never have too many arms, public 
or private, against the criminal. To this some 
people may answer that, by continually publishing 
the details of crimes, the press ends by encour- 
aging their commission. But then, with some 
people we can never do right. 

Rouletabille, as I have said, entered my room 
that morning of the 26th of October, 1892. He was 
looking redder than usual, and his eyes were bulg- 
ing out of his head, as the phrase is, and altogether 
he appeared to be in a state of extreme excitement. 
He waved the " Matin " with a trembling hand, 
and cried : — 

" Well, my dear Sainclair, — have you read it? " 

" The Glandier crime? " 

" Yes ; * The Yellow Room ' ! — What do you 
think of it?" 

" I think that it must have been the Devil or 
the Bete du Bon Dieu that committed the crime." 

" Be serious ! " 

"Well, I don't much believe in murderers who 
make their escape through walls of solid brick. I 
think Daddy Jacques did wrong to leave behind 
him the weapon with which the crime was com- 
mitted and, as he occupied the attic immediately 
above Mademoiselle Stangerson's room, the build- 
er's job ordered by the examining magistrate 
* 17 


will give us the key of the enigma and it will 
not be long before we learn by what natural 
trap, or by what secret door, the old fellow was 
able to slip in and out, and return immediately to 
the laboratory to Monsieur Stangerson, without 
his absence being noticed. That, of course, is only 
an hypothesis." 

Rouletabille sat down in an armchair, lit his 
pipe, which he was never without, smoked for 
a few minutes in silence — no doubt to calm the 
excitement which, visibly, dominated him — and 
then replied: — 

" Young man," he said, in a tone the sad irony 
of which I will not attempt to render, " young man, 
you are a lawyer and I doubt not your ability to 
save the guilty from conviction ; but if you were a 
magistrate on the bench, how easy it would be for 
you to condemn innocent persons ! — You are really 
gifted, young man ! " 

He continued to smoke energetically, and then 
went on: — 

" No trap will be found, and the mystery of 
' The Yellow Room ' will become more and more 
mysterious. That *s why it interests me. The ex- 
amining magistrate is right; nothing stranger 
than this crime has ever been known." 

" Have you any idea of the way by which the 
murderer escaped? " I asked. 

" None," replied Rouletabille — " none, for the 
present. But I have an idea as to the revolver; 
the murderer did not use it." 

" Good Heavens ! By whom, then, was it used? " 

"Why — by Mademoiselle Stangerson." 


" I don't understand, — or rather, I have neve* 
understood," I said. 

Rouletabille shrugged his shoulders. 

" Is there nothing in this article in the * Matin * 
by which you were particularly struck? " 

" Nothing, — I have found the whole of the 
story it tells equally strange." 

"Well, but — the locked door — with the key 
on the inside? " 

" That 's the only perfectly natural thing in tha 
whole article." 

" Really ! — And the bolt? " 

"The bolt?" 

" Yes, the bolt — also inside the room — a still 
further protection against entry? Mademoiselle 
Stangerson took quite extraordinary precautions! 
It is clear to me that she feared someone. That was 
why she took such precautions — even Daddy 
Jacques's revolver — without telling him of it. 
No doubt she did n't wish to alarm anybody, and 
least of all, her father. What she dreaded took 
place, and she defended herself. There was a 
struggle, and she used the revolver skilfully enough 
to wound the assassin in the hand — which explains 
the impression on the wall and on the door of the 
large, blood-stained hand of the man who was 
searching for a means of exit from the chamber. 
But she did n't fire soon enough to avoid the ter- 
rible blow on the right temple." 

" Then the wound on the temple was not done 
with the revolver? " 

" The paper does n't say it was, and I don't 
think it was; because logically it appears to me 



that the revolver was used by Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson against the assassin. Now, what weapon did 
the murderer use? The blow on the temple seems to 
show that the murderer wished to stun Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson, — after he had unsuccessfully 
tried to strangle her. He must have known that the 
attic was inhabited by Daddy Jacques, and that 
was one of the reasons, I think, why he must have 
used a quiet weapon, — a life-preserver, or a 

" All that does n't explain how the murderer got 
out of ' The Yellow Room,' " I observed. 

*' Evidently," replied Rouletabille, rising, " and 
that is what has to be explained. I am going to 
the Chateau du Glandier, and have come to see 
whether you will go with me." 

" I? " — 

"Yes, my boy. I want you. The 'Epoque* 

has definitely entrusted this case to me, and I must 
clear it up as quickly as possible." 

" But in what way can I be of any use to you? " 

" Monsieur Robert Darzac is at the Chateau du 

" That 's true. His despair must be boundless.* 

" I must have a talk with him." 

Rouletabille said it in a tone that surprised me. 

" Is it because — you think there is something 
to be got out of him? " I asked. 

" Yes." 

That was all he would say. He retired to my 
sitting-room, begging me to dress quickly. 

I knew Monsieur Robert Darzac from having 
been of great service to him in a civil action, while 



I was acting as secretary to Maitre Barbet Dela- 
tour. Monsieur Robert Darzac, who was at that 
time about forty years of age, was a professor 
of physics at the Sorbonne. He was intimately 
acquainted with the Stangersons, and, after an 
assiduous seven years* courtship of the daughter, 
had been on the point of marrying her. In spite 
of the fact that she has become, as the phrase goes, 
" a person of a certain age," she was still remark- 
ably good-looking. 

While I was dressing I called out to Rou- 
letabille, who was impatiently moving about my 
sitting-room : — 

" Have you any idea as to the murderer's station 
in life?" 

" Yes," he replied ; " I think if he is n't a man in 
society, he is, at least, a man belonging to the upper 
class. But that, again, is only an impression." 

" What has led you to form it? " 

" Well, — the greasy cap, the common handker- 
chief, and the marks of the rough boots on the 
floor," he replied. 

" I understand," I said ; " murderers don't leave 
traces behind them which tell the truth." 

" We shall make something out of you yet, my 
dear Sainclair," concluded Rouletabille. 



"A Man Has Passed like a Shadow 
through the Blinds" 

HALF an hour later Rouletabille and I were 
on the platform of the Orleans station, await- 
ing the departure of the train which was to take 
us to Epinay-sur-Orge. 

On the platform we found Monsieur de Marquet 
and his Registrar, who represented the Judicial 
Court of Corbeil. Monsieur Marquet had spent 
the night in Paris, assisting in the final rehearsal, 
at the Scala, of a little play of which he was the 
unknown author, signing himself simply " Castigat 

Monsieur Marquet was beginning to be a " noble 
old gentleman." Generally he was extremely polite 
and full of gay humour, and in all his life had 
had but one passion, — that of dramatic art. 
Throughout his magisterial career he was inter- 
ested solely in cases capable of furnishing him with 
something in the nature of a drama. Though he 
might very well have aspired to the highest judicial 
positions, he had never really worked for anything 
but to win a success at the romantic Porte-Saint- 
Martin, or at the sombre Odeon. 

Because of the mystery which shrouded it, the 
case of " The Yellow Room " was certain to fasci- 



nate so theatrical a mind. It interested him enor- 
mously, and he threw himself into it, less as a 
magistrate eager to know the truth, than as an 
amateur of dramatic embroglios, tending wholly 
to mystery and intrigue, who dreads nothing so 
much as the explanatory final act. 

So that, at the moment of meeting him, I heard 
Monsieur de Marquet say to the Registrar with a 
sigh: — 

" I hope, my dear Monsieur Maleine, this builder 
with his pickaxe will not destroy so fine a 

" Have no f ear," replied Monsieur Maleine, " his 
pickaxe may demolish the pavilion, perhaps, but 
it will leave our case intact. I have sounded the 
walls and examined the ceiling and floor and I 
know all about it. I am not to be deceived." 

Having thus reassured his chief, Monsieur Ma* 
leine, with a discreet movement of the head, drew 
Monsieur de Marquet's attention to us. The face 
of that gentleman clouded, and, as he saw Roulet- 
abille approaching, hat in hand, he sprang into 
one of the empty carriages saying, half aloud 
to his Registrar, as he did so, "Above all, no 

Monsieur Maleine replied in the same tone, " 1 
understand ! " and then tried to prevent Roulet- 
abille from entering the same compartment with 
the examining magistrate. 

" Excuse me, gentlemen, — this compartment is 

"I am a journalist, Monsieur, engaged on the 
* Epoque,* " said my young friend with a great 



show of gesture and politeness, " and I have a 
word or two to say to Monsieur de Marquet." 

" Monsieur is very much engaged with the in- 
quiry he has in hand." 

" Ah ! his inquiry, pray believe me, is absolutely 
a matter of indifference to me. I am no scavenger 
of odds and ends," he went on, with infinite con- 
tempt in his lower lip, " I am a theatrical reporter ; 
and this evening I shall have to give a little account 
of the play at the Scala." 

" Get in, sir, please," said the Registrar. 

Rouletabille was already in the compartment. 1 
went in after him and seated myself by his side. The 
Registrar followed and closed the carriage-door. 

Monsieur de Marquet looked at him. 

" Ah, sir," Rouletabille began, " You must not 
be angry with Monsieur de Maleine. It is not with 
Monsieur de Marquet that I desire to have the 
honour of speaking, but with Monsieur i Castigat 
Ridendo.* Permit me to congratulate you — per- 
sonally, as well as the writer for the * Epoque.* " 
And Rouletabille, having first introduced me, in- 
troduced himself. 

Monsieur de Marquet, with a nervous gesture, 
caressed his beard into a point, and explained to 
Rouletabille, in a few words, that he was too modest 
an author to desire that the veil of his pseudonym 
should be publicly raised, and that he hoped the 
enthusiasm of the journalist for the dramatist's 
work would not lead him to tell the public that 
Monsieur " Castigat Ridendo " and the examining 
magistrate of Corbeil were one and the same person. 

" The work of the dramatic author may inter- 


fere," he said, after a slight hesitation, " with that 
of the magistrate, especially in a province where 
one's labours are little more than routine." 

" Oh, you may rely on my discretion ! " cried 

The train was in motion. 

" We have started ! " said the examining magis* 
trate, surprised at seeing us still in the carriage. 

"Yes, Monsieur, — truth has started," said 
Rouletabille, smiling amiably, — " on its way to 
the Chateau du Glandier. A fine case, Monsieur 
de Marquet, — a fine case ! " 

"An obscure — incredible, unfathomable, inex- 
plicable affair — and there is only one thing / fear, 
Monsieur Rouletabille, — that the journalists will 
be trying to explain it." 

My friend felt this a rap on his knuckles. 

" Yes," he said simply, " that is to be feared. 
They meddle in everything. As for my interest, 
monsieur, I only referred to it by mere chance, — 
the mere chance of finding myself in the same train 
with you, and in the same compartment of the same 

" Where are you going, then? " asked Monsieur 
de Marquet. 

"To the Chateau du Glandier," replied Rou- 
letabille, without turning. 

" You *11 not get in, Monsieur Rouletabille ! " 

" Will you prevent me? " said my friend, al- 
ready prepared to fight. 

" Not I! — I like the press and journalists too 
well to be in any way disagreeable to them; but 
Monsieur Stangerson has given orders for his 



door to be closed against everybody, and it is well 
guarded. Not a journalist was able to pass 
through the gate of the Glandier yesterday." 

Monsieur de Marquet compressed his lips and 
seemed ready to relapse into obstinate silence. 
He only relaxed a little when Rouletabille no 
longer left him in ignorance of the fact that we 
were going to the Glandier for the purpose of 
shaking hands with an " old and intimate friend/' 
Monsieur Robert Darzac — a man whom Roulet- 
abille had perhaps seen once in his life. 

" Poor Robert ! " continued the young reporter, 
" this dreadful affair may be his death, — he is 
so deeply in love with Mademoiselle Stangerson." 

" His sufferings are truly painful to witness," 
escaped like a regret from the lips of Monsieur de 

" But it is to be hoped that Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson's life will be saved." 

w Let us hope so. Her father told me yester- 
day that, if she does not recover, it will not be 
long before he joins her in the grave. What an 
incalculable loss to science his death would be ! " 

"The wound on her temple is serious, is it 

" Evidently ; but, by a wonderful chance, it has 
not proved mortal. The blow was given with great 

" Then it was not with the revolver she was 
wounded," said Rouletabille, glancing at me in 

Monsieur de Marquet appeared greatly em- 



" I did n't say anything — I don't want to say 
anything — I will not say anything," he said. 
And he turned towards his Registrar as if he no 
longer knew us. 

But Rouletabille was not to be so easily shaken 
off. He moved nearer to the examining magistrate 
and, drawing a copy of the " Matin " from his 
pocket, he showed it to him and said : — 

" There is one thing, Monsieur, which I may en- 
quire of you without committing an indiscretion. 
You have, of course, seen the account given in the 
* Matin '? It is absurd, is it not? " 

" Not in the slightest, Monsieur." 

" What ! The Yellow Room has but one barred 
window — the bars of which have not been moved 
— and only one door, which had to be broken . 
open — and the assassin was not found ! " 

" That *s so, monsieur, — - that *s so. That *s 
how the matter stands." 

Rouletabille said ho more but plunged into 
thought. A quarter of an hour thus passed. 

Coming back to himself again he said, address- 
ing the magistrate : — 

"How did Mademoiselle Stangerson wear her 
hair on that evening? " 

" I don't know," replied Monsieur de Marquet. 

" That *s a very important point," said Roulet-j 
abille. " Her hair was done up in bands, was n't 
it? I feel sure that on that evening, the evening 
of the crime, she had her hair arranged in bands." 

" Then you are mistaken, Monsieur Rouleta- 
bille," replied the magistrate ; " Mademoiselle 
Stangerson that evening had her hair drawn up 

27 "' 


in a knot on the top of her head, — her usual 
way of arranging it — her forehead completely 
uncovered. I can assure you, for we have care- 
fully examined the wound. There was no blood on 
the hair, and the arrangement of it has not been 
disturbed since the crime was committed." 

" You are sure ! You are sure that, on the 
night of the crime, she had not her hair in 
bands ?" 

" Quite sure," the magistrate continued, smiling, 
"because I remember the Doctor saying to me, 
while he was examining the wound, * It is a great 
pity Mademoiselle Stangerson was in the habit of 
drawing her hair back from her forehead. If she 
had worn it in bands, the blow she received on the 
temple would have been weakened.' It seems 
strange to me that you should attach so much 
importance to this point." 

" Oh ! if she had not her hair in bands, I 
give it up," said Rouletabille, with a despairing 

" And was the wound on her temple a bad one? " 
he asked presently. 

" Terrible." 

" With what weapon was it made? " 

" That is a secret of the investigation." 

" Have you f ound the weapon — whatever it 

The magistrate did not answer. 

" And the wound in the throat? " 

Here the examining magistrate readily con- 
firmed the decision of the doctor that, if the mur- 
derer had pressed her throat a few seconds longer, 



Mademoiselle Stangerson would have died of 

" The affair as reported in the * Matin,* " said 
Rouletabille eagerly, " seems to me more and more 
inexplicable. Can you tell me, Monsieur, how 
many openings there are in the pavilion? I mean 
doors and windows." 

" There are five," replied Monsieur de Marquet, 
after having coughed once or twice, but no longer 
resisting the desire he felt to talk of the whole of 
the incredible mystery of the affair he was investi- 
gating. " There are five, of which the door of the 
vestibule is the only entrance to the pavilion, — 
a door always automatically closed, which cannot 
be opened, either from the outer or inside, except 
with the two special keys which are never out of 
the possession of either Daddy Jacques or Mon- 
sieur Stangerson. Mademoiselle Stangerson had 
no need for one, since Daddy Jacques lodged in 
the pavilion and because, during the daytime, she 
never left her father. When they, all four, rushed 
into The Yellow Room, after breaking open the 
door of the laboratory, the door in the vestibule re- 
mained closed as usual and, of the two keys for 
opening it, Daddy Jacques had one in his pocket, 
and Monsieur Stangerson the other. As to the 
windows of the pavilion, there are four; the one 
window of The Yellow Room and those of the labo- 
ratory looking out on to the country ; the window 
m the vestibule looking into the park." 

" It is by that window that he escaped from the 
pavilion ! " cried Rouletabille. 

" How do you know that? " demanded Monsieur 


de Marquet, fixing a strange look on my young 

" We '11 see later how he got away from The 
Yellow Room," replied Rouletabille, " but he must 
have left the pavilion by the vestibule window," 

" Once more, — how do you know that? " 

"How? Oh, the thing is simple enough! As 
soon as he found he could not escape by the door of 
the pavilion his only way out was by the window in 
the vestibule, unless he could pass through a grated 
window. The window of The Yellow Room is se- 
cured by iron bars, because it looks out upon the 
open country ; the two windows of the laboratory 
have to be protected in like manner for the same 
reason. As the murderer got away, I conceive 
that he found a window that was not barred, — 
that of the vestibule, which opens on to the park, 
— that is to say, into the interior of the estate. 
There 9 s not much magic in all that." 

" Yes," said Monsieur de Marquet, " but what 
you have not guessed is that this single window 
in the vestibule, though it has no iron bars, has 
solid iron blinds. Now these iron blinds have re- 
mained fastened by their iron latch; and yet we 
have proof that the murderer made his escape from 
the pavilion by that window! Traces of blood on 
the inside wall and on the blinds as well as on the 
floor, and footmarks, of which I have taken the 
measurements, attest the fact that the murderer 
made his escape that way. But then, how did he do 
it, seeing that the blinds remained fastened on the 
inside? He passed through them like a shadow. 
But what is more bewildering than all is that it is 



impossible to form any idea as to how the murderer 
got out of The Yellow Room, or how he got across 
the laboratory to reach the vestibule! Ah, yes, 
Monsieur Rouletabille, it is altogether as you said, 
a fine case, the key to which will not be discovered 
for a long time, I hope." 

" You hope, Monsieur? " 

Monsieur de Marquet corrected himself. 

" I do not hope so, — I think so." 

" Could that window have been closed and re- 
fastened after the flight of the assassin? " asked 

"That is what occurred to me for a moment; 
but it would imply an accomplice or accomplices, 
— and I don't see — " 

After a short silence he added : — 

"Ah — if Mademoiselle Stangerson were only well 
enough to-day to allow of her being questioned ! " 

Rouletabille following up his thought, asked : — 

"And the attic? — There must be some open- 
ing to that?" 

" Yes ; there is a window, or rather skylight, in 
it, which, as it looks out towards the country, Mon- 
sieur Stangerson has had barred, like the rest of 
the windows. These bars, as in the other windows, 
have remained intact, and the blinds, which natu- 
rally open inwards, have not been unfastened. For 
the rest, we have not discovered anything to lead 
us to suspect that the murderer had passed 
through the attic." 

" It seems clear to you, then, Monsieur, that the 
murderer escaped — nobody knows how — by the 
window in the vestibule? " 



" Everything goes to prove it." 

" I think so, too," confessed Rouletabille gravely. 

After a brief silence, he continued: — 

" If you have not found any traces of the mur- 
derer in the attic, such as the dirty footmarks sim- 
ilar to those on the floor of The Yellow Room, you 
must eome to the conclusion that it was not he 
who stole Daddy Jacques's revolver." 

" There are no footmarks in the attic other than 
those of Daddy Jacques himself," said the magis- 
trate with a significant turn of his head. Then, 
after an apparent decision, he added : " Daddy 
Jacques was with Monsieur Stangerson in the lab- 
oratory — and it was lucky for him he was." 

u Then what part did his revolver plcy in the 
tragedy ? — It seems very clear that this weapon 
did less harm to Mademoiselle Stangerson than it 
did to the murderer." 

The magistrate made no reply to this question, 
which doubtless embarrassed him. " Monsieur 
Stangerson," he said, " tells us that the two bullets 
have been found in The Yellow Room, one embedded 
in the wall stained with the impression of a red 
hand — a man's large hand — and the other in 
the ceiling." 

" Oh ! oh ! in the ceiling ! " muttered Rouleta- 
bille. " In the ceiling ! That *s very curious ! — 
In the ceiling ! " 

He puffed awhile in silence at his pipe, envelop- 
ing himself in the smoke. When we reached Sa- 
vigny-sur-Orge, I had to tap him on the shoulder 
to arouse him from his dream and come out on to 
the platform of the station. 



There the magistrate and his Registrar bowed 
to us, and, by rapidly getting into a cab that was 
awaiting them, made us understand that they had 
seen enough of us. 

" How long will it take to walk to the Chateau 
du Glandier?" Rouletabille asked one of the 
railway porters. 

"An hour and a half or an hour and three 
quarters — easy walking," the man replied. 

Rouletabille looked up at the sky and, no doubt, 
finding its appearance satisfactory, took my arm 
and said : — 

" Come on ! — I need a walk." 

" Are things getting less entangled?" I asked. 

" Not a bit of it ! " he said, " more entangled 
than ever ! It 's true, I have an idea — " 

"What's that? "I asked. 

"I can't tell you what it is just at present — 
it's an idea involving the life or death of two 
persons at least." 

" Do you think there were accomplices? " 

"I don't think it — " 

We fell into silence. Presently he went on : — 

" It was a bit of luck, our falling in with that 
examining magistrate and his Registrar, eh? 
What did I tell you about that revolver? " 

His head was bent -down, he had his hands in 
his pockets, and he was whistling. After a while 
I heard him murmur : — 

" Poor woman ! " 

" Is it Mademoiselle Stangerson you are pity- 

" Yes ; she *s a noble woman and worthy of being 
8 88 


pitied ! — a woman of a great, a very great char- 
acter — I imagine — I imagine." 

"You know her then?" 

" Not at all. I have never seen her but once." 

" Why, then, do you say that she is a woman 
of great character? " 

" Because she bravely faced the murderer ; be- 
cause she courageously defended herself — and, 
above all, because of the bullet in the ceiling." 

I looked at Rouletabille and inwardly wondered 
whether he was not mocking me, or whether he had 
not suddenly gone out of his senses. But I saw 
that he had never been less inclined to laugh, and 
the brightness of his keenly intelligent eyes as- 
sured me that he retained all his reason. Then, 
too, I was used to his broken way of talking, which 
only left me puzzled as to his meaning, till, with a 
very few clear, rapidly uttered words, he would 
make the drift of his ideas clear to me, and I saw 
that what he had previously said, and which had 
appeared to me void of meaning, was so thoroughly 
logical that I could not understand how it was I 
had not understood him sooner. 



u In the Bosom of Wild Nature" 

THE Chateau du dandier is one of the oldest 
chateaux in the lie de France, where so many 
building remains of the feudal period are still 
standing. Built originally in the heart of the 
forest, in the reign of Philip le Bel, it now could 
be seen a few hundred yards from the road leading 
from the village of Sainte-Genevifeve to Monthery. 
A mass of inharmonious structures, it is dominated 
by a donjon. When the visitor has mounted the 
crumbling steps of this ancient donjon, he reaches 
a little plateau where, in the seventeenth century, 
Georges Philibert de Sequigny, Lord of the Glan- 
dier, Maisons-Neuves and other places, built the 
existing town in an abominably rococo style of 

It was in this place, seemingly belonging en- 
tirely to the past, that Professor Stangerson and 
his daughter installed themselves to lay the foun- 
dations for the science of the future. Its solitude, 
in the depths of woods, was what, more than all, 
had pleased them. They would have none to wit- 
ness their labours and intrude on their hopes, but 
the aged stones and grand old oaks. The Glan- 
dier — ancient Glandierum — was so called from 
the quantity of glands (acorns) which, in all times, 



had been gathered in that neighbourhood. This 
land, of present mournful interest, had fallen back, 
owing to the negligence or abandonment of its 
owners, into the wild character of primitive nature. 
The buildings alone, which were hidden there, 
had preserved traces of their strange metamor- 
phoses. Every age had left on them its imprint; 
a bit of architecture with which was bound up the 
remembrance of some terrible event, some bloody 
adventure. Such was the chateau in which science 
had taken refuge — a place seemingly designed to 
be the theatre of mysteries, terror, and death. 

Having explained so far, I cannot refrain from 
making one further reflexion. If I have lingered a 
little over this description of the Glandier, it is not 
because I have reached the right moment for cre- 
ating the necessary atmosphere for the unfolding 
of the tragedy before the eyes of the reader. In- 
deed, in all this matter, my first care will be to be 
as simple as is possible. I have no ambition to be 
an author. An author is always something of a 
romancer, and God knows, the mystery of " The 
Yellow Room " is quite full enough of real tragic 
horror to require no aid from literary effects. I am, 
and only desire to be, a faithful " reporter." My 
duty is to report the event ; and I place the event 
in its frame — that is all. It is only natural that 
you should know where the things happened. 

I return to Monsieur Stangerson. When he 
bought the estate, fifteen years before the tragedy 
with which we are engaged occurred, the Chateau du 
Glandier had for a long time been unoccupied. An- 
other old chateau in the neighbourhood, built in 



the fourteenth century by Jean de Belmont, was 
also abandoned, so that that part of the country 
was very little inhabited. Some small houses on 
the side of the road leading to Corbeil, an inn, 
called the " Auberge du Donjon," which offered 
passing hospitality to waggoners; these were 
about all to represent civilisation in this out-of-the- 
way part of the country, but a few leagues from 
the capital. 

But this deserted condition of the place had been 
the determining reason for the choice made by 
Monsieur Stangerson and his daughter. Monsieur 
Stangerson was already celebrated. He had re- 
turned from America, where his works had made 
a great stir. The book which he had published at 
Philadelphia, on the " Dissociation of Matter by 
Electric Action," had aroused opposition through- 
out the whole scientific world. Monsieur Stang- 
erson was a Frenchman, but of American origin. 
Important matters relating to a legacy had kept 
him for several years in the United States, where 
he had continued the work begun by him in France, 
whither he had returned in possession of a large 
fortune. This fortune was a great boon to him; 
for, though he might have made millions of dollars 
by exploiting two or three of his chemical dis- 
coveries relative to new processes of dyeing, it 
was always repugnant to him to use for his own 
private gain the wonderful gift of invention he 
had received from nature. He considered he owed 
it to mankind, and all that his genius brought into 
the world went, by this philosophical view of his 
duty, into the public lap. 



If he did not try to conceal his satisfaction at 
coming into possession of this fortune, which en- 
abled him to give himself up to his passion for 
pure science, he had equally to rejoice, it seemed 
to him, for another cause. Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son was, at the time when her father returned from 
America and bought the Glandier estate, twenty 
years of age. She was exceedingly pretty, having 
at once the Parisian grace of her mother, who had 
died in giving her birth, and all the splendour, all 
the riches of the young American blood of her 
parental grandfather, William Stangerson. A 
citizen of Philadelphia, William Stangerson had 
been obliged to become naturalised in obedience to 
family exigencies at the time of his marriage with 
a French lady, she who was to be the mother of the 
illustrious Stangerson. In that way the profes- 
sor's French nationality is accounted for. 

Twenty years of age, a charming blonde, with 
blue eyes, milk-white complexion, and radiant with 
divine health, Mathilde Stangerson was one of the 
most beautiful marriageable girls in either the old 
or the new world. It was her father's duty, in 
spite of the inevitable pain which a separation from 
her would cause him, to think of her marriage ; and 
he was fully prepared for it. Nevertheless, he 
buried himself and his child at the Glandier at the 
moment when his friends were expecting him to 
bring her out into society. Some of them expressed 
their astonishment, and to their questions he an- 
swered : " It is my daughter's wish. I can refuse 
her nothing. She has chosen the Glandier." 

Interrogated in her turn, the young girl replied 


calmly : " Where could we work better than in this 
solitude? " For Mademoiselle Stangerson had al- 
ready begun to collaborate with her father in his 
work. It could not at the time be imagined that 
her passion for science would lead her so far as 
to refuse all the suitors who presented themselves 
to her for over fifteen years. So secluded was the 
life led by the two, father and daughter, that they 
showed themselves only at a few official receptions 
and, at certain times in the year, in two or three 
friendly drawing-rooms, where the fame of the 
professor and the beauty of Mathilde made a sen- 
sation. The young girPs extreme reserve did not 
at first discourage suitors ; but at the end of a few 
years, they tired of their quest. 

©ne alone persisted with tender tenacity and 
deserved the name of " eternal fianceY* a name he 
accepted with melancholy resignation; that was 
Monsieur Robert Darzac. Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son was now no longer young, and it seemed that, 
having found no reason for marrying at five- 
and-thirty, she would never find one. But such 
an argument evidently found no acceptance with 
Monsieur Robert Darzac. He continued to pay 
his court — if the delicate and tender attention 
with which he ceaselessly surrounded this woman 
of five-and-thirty could be called courtship — in 
face of her declared intention never to marry. 

Suddenly, some weeks before the events with 
which we are occupied, a report — to which no- 
body attached any importance, so incredible did it 
sound — was spread about Paris, that Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson had at last consented to " crown " 



the inextinguishable flame of Monsieur Robert Dai- 
zac ! It needed that Monsieur Robert Darzac him- 
self should not deny this matrimonial rumour to 
give it an appearance of truth, so unlikely did it 
seem to be well founded. One day, however, Mon- 
sieur Stangerson, as he was leaving the Academy 
of Science, announced that the marriage of his 
daughter and Monsieur Robert Darzac would be 
celebrated in the privacy of the Chateau du Glan- 
dier, as soon as he and his daughter had put 
the finishing touches to their report summing up 
their labours on the " Dissociation of Matter." 
The new household would install itself in the Glan- 
dier, and the son-in-law would lend his assistance 
in the work to which the father and daughter had 
dedicated their lives. 

The scientific world had barely had time to re- 
cover from the effect of this news, when it learned 
of the attempted assassination of Mademoiselle 
under the extraordinary conditions which we have 
detailed and which our visit to the chateau was to 
enable us to ascertain with yet greater precision. 
I have not hesitated to furnish the reader with all 
these retrospective details, known to me through 
my business relations with Monsieur Robert Dar- 
zac. On crossing the threshold of "The Yellow, 
Room " he was as well posted as I was. 



In Which Joseph Rouletabille Makes a Re- 
mark to Monsieur Robert Darzac Which 
Produces its Little Effect 

ROULETABILLE and I had been walking for 
several minutes, by the side of a long wall 
bounding the vast property of Monsieur Stanger- 
son and had already come within sight of the en- 
trance gate, when our attention was drawn to an 
individual who, half bent to the ground, seemed 
to be so completely absorbed in what he was doing 
as not to have seen us coming towards him. At 
one time he stooped so low as almost to touch 
the ground; at another he drew himself up and 
attentively examined the wall ; then he looked into 
the palm of one of his hands, and walked away 
with rapid strides. Finally he set off running, 
still looking into the palm of his hand. Rouleta- 
bille had brought me to a standstill by a gesture. 

" Hush ! Frederic Larsan is at work ! Don't let 
us disturb him ! " 

Rouletabille had a great admiration for the cel- 
ebrated detective. I had never before seen him, 
but I knew him well by reputation. At that time, 
before Rouletabille had given proof of his unique 
talent, Larsan was reputed as the most skilful un- 
raveller of the most mysterious and complicated 



crimes. His reputation was world-wide, and the 
police of London, and even of America, often called 
him in to their aid when their own national inspec- 
tors and detectives found themselves at the end of 
their wits and resources. 

No one was astonished, then, that the head of the 
Sfirete* had, at the outset of the mystery of " The 
Yellow Room," telegraphed his precious subordi- 
nate to London, where he had been sent on a big 
case of stolen securities, to return with all haste. 
Frederic who, at the Siiret£, was called the " great 
Frederic," had made all speed, doubtless knowing 
by experience that, if he was interrupted in what he 
was doing, it was because his services were urgently 
needed in another direction; so, as Rouletabille 
said, he was that morning already " at work." 
We soon found out in what it consisted. 

What he was continually looking at in the palm 
of his right hand was nothing but his watch, the 
minute hand of which he appeared to be noting in- 
tently. Then he turned back still running, stop- 
ping only when he reached the park gate, where 
he again consulted his watch and then put it away 
in his pocket, shrugging his shoulders with a ges- 
ture of discouragement. He pushed open the park 
gate, reclosed and locked it, raised his head and, 
through the bars, perceived us. Rouletabille 
rushed after him, and I followed. Frederic Larsan 
waited for us. 

" Monsieur Fred," said Rouletabille, raising his 
hat and showing the profound respect, based on 
admiration, which the young reporter felt for the 
celebrated detective, " can you tell me whether 



Monsieur Robert Darzac is at the chateau at this 
moment? Here is one of his friends, of the Paris 
Bar, who desires to speak with him." 

" I really don't know, Monsieur Rouletabille," 
replied Fred, shaking hands with my friend, whom 
he had several times met in the course of his diffi- 
cult investigations. " I have not seen him." 

" The concierges will be able to inform us no 
doubt?" said Rouletabille, pointing to the lodge 
the door and windows of which were close 

" The concierges will not be able to give you any 
information, Monsieur Rouletabille." 

"Why not?" 

" Because they were arrested half an hour 

" Arrested ! " cried Rouletabille ; " then they 
are the murderers ! " 

Frederic Larsan shrugged his shoulders. 

" When you can't arrest the real murderer," he 
said with an air of supreme irony, " you can always 
indulge in the luxury of discovering accomplices." 

" Did you have them arrested, Monsieur Fred? " 

" Not I ! — I have n't had them arrested. In 
the first place, I am pretty sure that they have 
not had anything to do with the affair, and then 
because ■*— " 

" Because of what? " asked Rouletabille eagerly. 

" Because of nothing," said Larsan, shaking his 

" Because there were no accomplices ! " said 

"Aha! — you have an idea, then, about thia 


matter? " said Larsan, looking at Rouletabille in- 
tently, " yet you have seen nothing, young man- 
— you have not yet gained admission here ! " 

" I shall get admission." 

" I doubt it. The orders are strict." 

" I shall gain admission, if you let me see Mon* 
sieur Robert Darzac. Do that for me. You know 
we are old friends. I beg of you, Monsieur Fred. 
Do you remember the article I wrote about you 
on the gold bar case? " 

The face of Rouletabille at the moment was really 
funny to look at. It showed such an irresistible 
desire to cross the threshold beyond which some 
prodigious mystery had occurred ; it appealed with 
so much eloquence, not only of the mouth and eyes, 
but with all its features, that I could not refrain 
from bursting into laughter. Frederic Larsan-, 
no more than myself, could retain his gravity. 
Meanwhile, standing on the other side of the gate, 
he calmly put the key in his pocket. I closely 
scrutinised him. 

He might be about fifty years of age. He had 
a fine head, his hair turning grey; a colourless 
complexion, and a firm profile. His forehead was 
prominent, his chin and cheeks clean shaven. His 
upper lip, without moustache, was finely chiselled. 
His eyes were rather small and round, with a look 
in them that was at once searching and disquiet- 
ing. He was of middle height and well built, with 
a general bearing elegant and gentlemanly. There 
was nothing about him of the vulgar policeman. 
In his way, he was an artist, and one felt that he 
had a high opinion of himself. The sceptical ton* 



of his conversation was that of a man who had been 
taught by experience. His strange profession had 
brought him into contact with so many crimes and 
villanies that it would have been remarkable if his 
nature had not been a little hardened. 

Larsan turned his head at the sound of a vehicle 
which had come from the chateau and reached the 
gate behind him. We recognised the cab which had 
conveyed the examining magistrate and his Regis- 
trar from the station at Epinay. 

" Ah ! " said Frederic Larsan, " if you want 
to speak with Monsieur Robert Darzac, he is 

The cab was already at the park gate and Rob- 
ert Darzac was begging Frederic Larsan to open 
it for him, explaining that he was pressed for time 
to catch the next train leaving Epinay for Paris. 
Then he recognised me. While Larsan was unlock- 
ing the gate, Monsieur Darzac inquired what had 
brought me to the Glandier at such a tragic mo- 
ment. I noticed that he was frightfully pale, and 
that his face was lined as if from the effects of 
some terrible suffering. 

" Is Mademoiselle getting better? " I immedi- 
ately asked. 

" Yes," he said. " She will be saved perhaps. 
She must be saved ! " 

He did not add " or it will be my death " ; but 
I felt that the phrase trembled on his pale lips. 

Rouletabille intervened: — 

" You are in a hurry, Monsieur ; but I must 
speak with you. I have something of the greatest 
importance to tell you." 



Frederick Larsan interrupted: — 

" May I leave you? " he asked of Robert Darzac. 
" Have you a key, or do you wish me to give you 
this one." 

" Thank you. I have a key and will lock the 

Larsan hurried off in the direction of the 
chateau, the imposing pile of which could be per- 
ceived a few hundred yards away. 

Robert Darzac, with knit brow, was beginning 
to show impatience. I presented Rouletabille as 
a good friend of mine, but, as soon as he learnt 
that the young man was a journalist, he looked at 
me very reproachfully, excused himself, under the 
necessity of having to reach Epinay in twenty min- 
utes, bowed, and whipped up his horse. But Rou- 
letabille had seized the bridle and, to my utter 
astonishment, stopped the carriage with a vigorous 
hand. Then he gave utterance to a sentence whi4h 
was utterly meaningless to me. 

" The presbytery has lost nothing of its charm, 
nor the garden its brightness." 

The words had hardly left the lips of Rouleta- 
bille than I saw Robert Darzac quail. Pale as he 
was, he became paler. His eyes were fixed on the 
young man in terror, and he immediately descended 
from the vehicle in an inexpressible state of 

" Come ! — come in ! " he stammered. 

Then, suddenly, and with a sort of fury, he 
repeated : — 

" Let us go, monsieur." 

He turned up by the road he had come from the 


chateau, Rouletabille still retaining his hold on the 
horse's bridle. I addressed a few words to Mon- 
sieur Darzac, but he made no answer. My looks 
questioned Rouletabille, but his gaze was else- 


In the Heart of the Oak Grove 

WE reached the chateau, and, as we ap- 
proached it, saw four gendarmes pacing in 
front of a little door in the ground floor of the 
donjon. We soon learned that in this ground floor, 
which had formerly served as a prison, Monsieur 
and Madame Bernier, the concierges, were confined. 

Monsieur Robert Darzac led us into the modern 
part of the chateau by a large door, protected by 
a projecting awning — a " marquise " as it is 
called. Rouletabille who had resigned the horse 
and the cab to the care of a servant, never took 
his eyes off Monsieur Darzac. I followed his look 
and perceived that it was directed solely towards 
the gloved hands of the Sorbonne professor. When 
we were in a tiny sitting-room fitted with old furni- 
ture, Monsieur Darzac turned to Rouletabille and 
said sharply: — 

"What do you want?" 

The reporter answered in an equally sharp 
tone : — 

" To shake you by the hand." 

Darzac shrank back. 

"What does that mean?" 

Evidently he understood, what I also under- 
stood, that my friend suspected him of the abom~ 


inable attempt on the life of Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son. The impression of the blood-stained hand 
on the walls of "The Yellow Room" was in his 
mind. I looked at the man closely. His haughty 
face with its expression ordinarily so straightfor- 
ward was at this moment strangely troubled. He 
held out his right hand and, referring to me, 
said: — 

" As you are a friend of Monsieur Sainclair 
who has rendered me invaluable services in a just 
cause, monsieur, I sec no reason for refusing you 
my hand — " 

Rouletabille did not take the extended hand. 
Lying with the utmost audacity, he said : — 

" Monsieur, I have lived several years in Russia, 
where I have acquired the habit of never taking any 
but an ungloved hand." 

I thought that the Sorbonne professor would 
express his anger openly, but, on the contrary, by 
a visibly violent effort, he calmed himself, took off 
his gloves, and showed his hands; they were un- 
marked by any cicatrice. 

" Are you satisfied? " 

" No ! " replied Rouletabille. " My dear friend," 
he said, turning to me, " I am obliged to ask you to 
leave us alone for a moment." 

I bowed and retired, stupefied by what I had seen 
and heard. I could not understand why Monsieur 
Robert Darzac had not already shown the door to 
my impertinent, insulting, and stupid friend. I 
was angry myself with Rouletabille at that moment, 
for his suspicions, which had led to this scene of the 

4 49 


For some twenty minutes I walked about in front 
of the chateau, trying vainly to link together the dif- 
ferent events of the day. What was in Rouletabille's 
mind? Was it possible that he thought Monsieur 
Robert Darzac to be the murderer? How could it 
be thought that this man, who was to have married 
Mademoiselle Stangerson in the course of a few 
days, had introduced himself into " The Yellow 
Room " to assassinate his fiancee? I could find no 
explanation as to how the murderer had been able 
to leave " The Yellow Room " ; and so long as that 
mystery, which appeared to me so inexplicable, re- 
mained unexplained, I thought it was the duty of 
all of us to refrain from suspecting anybody. But, 
then, that seemingly senseless phrase — " The pres- 
bytery has lost nothing of its charm, nor the 
garden its brightness " — still rung in my ears. 
What did it mean? I was eager to rejoin Rou- 
letabille and question him. 

At that moment the young man came out of 
the chateau in the company of Monsieur Robert 
Darzac, and, extraordinary to relate, I saw, at a 
glance, that they were the best of friends. 

" We are going to ' The Yellow Room.' Come 
with us," Rouletabille said to me. " You know, my 
dear boy, I am going to keep you with me all day. 
We '11 breakfast together somewhere about here — " 

" You '11 breakfast with me, here, gentlemen — " 

" No, thanks," replied the young man. " We 
shall breakfast at the Donjon Inn." 

" You '11 fare very badly there ; you *I1 not find 
anything — " 

" Do you think so? Well, I hope to find some- 


thing there," replied Rouletabille. " After break* 
fast, we Tl set to work again. I '11 write my article 
and if you 9 11 be so good as to take it to the office 
for me — " 

44 Won't you come back with me to Paris? " 

"No; I shall remain here." 

I turned towards Rouletabille. He spoke quite 
jeriously, and Monsieur Robert Darzac did not ap- 
pear to be in the least degree surprised. 

We were passing by the donj on and heard wail- 
ing voices. Rouletabille asked : 

44 Why have these people been arrested? " 

44 It is a little my fault," said Monsieur Darzac. 
" I happened to remark to the examining magis- 
trate yesterday that it was inexplicable that the 
concierges had had time to hear the revolver shots, 
to dress themselves, and to cover so great a dis- 
tance as that which lies between their lodge and the 
pavilion, in the space of two minutes ; for not more 
than that interval of time had elapsed after the 
firing of the shots when they were met by Daddy 

44 That was suspicious evidently," acquiesced 
Rouletabille. "And were they dressed?" 

44 That is what is so incredible — they were 
dressed — completely — not one part of their cos- 
tume wanting. The woman wore sabots, but the 
man had on laced boots. Now they assert that they 
went to bed at half-past nine. On arriving this 
morning, the examining magistrate brought with 
him from Paris a revolver of the same calibre as 
that found in the room (for he couldn't use the 
one held for evidence), and made his Registrar fire 



two shots in * The Yellow Room ' while the doors 
and windows were closed. We were with him in 
the lodge of the concierges, and yet we heard 
nothing, not a sound. The concierges have lied, 
of that there can be no doubt. They must have 
been already waiting, not far from the pavilion, 
waiting for something! Certainly they are not 
to be accused of being the authors of the crime, but 
their complicity is not improbable. That was why 
Monsieur de Marquet had them arrested at once." 

" If they had Seen accomplices," said Rouleta- 
bille, " they would not have been there at all. When 
people threw themselves into the arms of justice 
with the proofs of complicity on them, you can be 
sure they are not accomplices. I don't believe 
there are any accomplices in this affair." 

" Then, why were they abroad at midnight? 
Why don't they say?" 

" They have certainly some reason for their 
silence. What that reason is, has to be found out ; 
for, even if they are not accomplices, it may be of 
importance. Everything that took place on such 
a night is important." 

We had crossed an old bridge thrown over the 
Douve and were entering the part of the park 
called the Oak Grove. The oaks here were centuries 
old. Autumn had already shrivelled their tawny 
leaves, and their high branches, black and con- 
torted, looked like horrid heads of hair, mingled 
with quaint reptiles such as the ancient sculptors 
have made on the head of Medusa. This place, 
which Mademoiselle found cheerful and in which 
she lived in the summer season, appeared to us as 



sad and funereal now. The soil was black and 
muddy from the recent rains and the rotting of 
the fallen leaves; the trunks of the trees were 
black and the sky above us was now, as if in mourn- 
ing, charged with great, heavy clouds. 

And it was in this sombre and desolate retreat 
that we saw the white walls of the pavilion as we 
approached. A queer-looking building without a 
window visible on the side by which we neared it. 
A little door alone marked the entrance to it. It 
might have passed for a tomb, a vast mausoleum in 
the midst of a thick forest. As we came nearer, we 
were able to make out its disposition. The build- 
ing obtained all the light it needed from the south, 
that is to say, from the open country. The little 
door closed on the park. Monsieur and Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson must have found it an ideal seclu- 
sion for their work and their dreams. 

lb?.-? :! ; 

55ssN * i 


*" sS*"^^! Door enclosing WaJJ 

Here is the ground plan of the pavilion. It had 
a ground-floor which was reached by a few steps v 



and above it was an attic, with which we need not 
concern ourselves. The plan of the ground-floor 
only, sketched roughly, is what I here submit to 
the reader. 

1. The Yellow Room, with its one window and 
its one door opening into the laboratory. 

2. Laboratory, with its two large, barred win- 
dows and its doors, one serving for the vestibule, 
the other for The Yellow Room. 

3. Vestibule, with its unbarred window and door 
opening into the park. 

4. Lavatory. 

5. Stairs leading to the attic. 

6. Large and the only chimney in the pavilion, 
serving for the experiments of the laboratory. 

The plan was drawn by Rouletabille, and I 
assured myself that there was not a line in it 
that was wanting to help to the solution of the 
problem then set before the police. With the lines 
of this plan and the description of its parts be- 
fore them, my readers will know as much as Rou- 
letabille knew when he entered the pavilion for the 
first time. With him they may now ask : How did 
the murderer escape from The Yellow Room? 

Before mounting the three steps leading up to 
the door of the pavilion, Rouletabille stopped and 
asked Monsieur Darzac point blank: — 

" What was the motive for the crime? " 

" Speaking for myself, Monsieur, there can be 
no doubt on the matter," said Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson's fiance^ greatly distressed. " The marks of 
the fingers, the deep scratches on the chest and 
throat of Mademoiselle Stangerson show that the 



wretch who attacked her attempted to commit a 
frightful crime. The medical experts who exam- 
ined these traces yesterday affirm that they were 
made by the same hand as that which left its red 
imprint on the wall ; an enormous hand, Monsieur, 
much too large to go into my gloves," he added 
with an indefinable smile. 

" Could not that blood-stained hand," I inter- 
rupted, " have been the hand of Mademoiselle 
Stangerson who, in the moment of falling, had 
pressed it against the wall, and, in slipping, en- 
larged the impression?" 

" There was not a drop of blood on either of 
her hands when she was lifted up," replied Mon- 
sieur Darzac. 

" We are now sure," said I, " that it was Made- 
moiselle Stangerson who was armed with Daddy 
Jacques's revolver, since she wounded the hand of 
the murderer. She was in fear, then, of somebody 
or something." 

" Probably." 

" Do you suspect anybody? " 

" No," replied Monsieur Darzac, looking at Rou- 

Rouletabille then said to me : — 

" You must know, my friend, that the inquiry 
is a little more advanced than Monsieur de Marquet 
has chosen to tell us. He not only knows that 
Mademoiselle Stangerson defended herself with the 
revolver, but he knows what the weapon was that 
was used to attack her. Monsieur Darzac tells me 
it was a mutton-bone. Why is Monsieur de Mar- 
quet surrounding this mutton-bone with so much 



mystery? No doubt for the purpose of facilitat- 
ing the inquiries of the agents of the Siirete? He 
imagines, perhaps, that the owner of this instru- 
ment of crime, the most terrible invented, is going 
to be found amongst those who are well-known in 
the slums of Paris who use it. But who can ever 
•ay what passes through the brain of an examin- 
ing magistrate? " Rouletabille added with con- 
temptuous irony. 

" Has a mutton-bone been found in The Yellow 
Room? " I asked him. 

" Yes, Monsieur," said Robert Darzac, " at the 
foot of the bed ; but I beg of you not to say any- 
thing about it." (I made a gesture of assent.) 
" It was an enormous mutton-bone, the top of 
which, or rather the joint, was still red with the 
blood of the frightful wound. It was an old bone, 
which may, according to appearances, have served 
in other crimes. That *s what Monsieur de Mar- 
quet thinks who has had it sent to the municipal 
laboratory at Paris to be analysed. In fact, he 
thinks he has detected on it, not only the blood of 
the last victim, but other stains of dried blood, 
evidences of previous crimes." 

" A mutton-bone in the hand of a skilled assassin 
is a frightful weapon," said Rouletabille, " a more 
certain weapon than a heavy hammer." I 

" The scoundrel has proved it to be so," said 
Monsieur Robert Darzac, sadly. "The joint of 
the bone found exactly fits the wound inflicted. 
My belief is that the wound would have been mor- 
tal, if the murderer's blow had not been arrested in 
the act by Mademoiselle Stangerson's revolver, 



Wounded in the hand, he dropped the mutton-bone 
and fled. Unfortunately, the blow had been already 
given, and Mademoiselle was stunned after having 
been nearly strangled. If she had succeeded in 
wounding the man with the first shot of the re- 
volver, she would, doubtless, have escaped the blow 
with the bone. But she had certainly employed 
her revolver too late; the first shot deviated and 
lodged in the ceiling; it was the second only that 
took effect." 

Having said this, Monsieur Darzac knocked at 
the door of the pavilion. I must confess to feeling 
a strong impatience to reach the spot where the 
crime had been committed. It was some time be- 
fore the door was opened by a man whom I at 
once recognised as Daddy Jacques. 

He appeared to be well over sixty years of age. 
He had a long white beard and white hair, on which 
he wore a flat Basque cap. He was dressed in a 
complete suit of chestnut-coloured velveteen, worn 
at the sides; sabots were on his feet. He had 
rather a waspish-looking face, the expression of 
which lightened, however, as soon as he saw Mon- 
sieur Darzac. 

"Friends," said our guide. "Nobody in the 
pavilion, Daddy Jacques? " 

44 1 ought not to allow anybody to enter, Mon- 
sieur Robert, but of course the order does not ap- 
ply to you. These gentlemen of justice have seen 
everything there is to be seen, and made enough 
drawings, and drawn up enough reports — " 

44 Excuse me, Monsieur Jacques, one question be- 
fore anything else," said Rouletabille. 



" What is it, young man? If I can answer it — " 

" Did your mistress wear her hair in bands, that 
evening? You know what I mean — over her 
forehead? " 

" No, young man. My mistress never wore her 
hair in the way you suggest, neither on that day 
nor on any other. She had her hair drawn up, as 
usual, so that her beautiful forehead could be seen, 
pure as that of an unborn child ! " 

Rouletabille grunted and set to work examining 
the door, finding that it fastened itself automatic- 
ally. He satisfied hmself that it could never remain 
open and needed a key to open it. Then we entered 
the vestibule, a small, well-lit room paved with 
square red tiles. 

"Ah! This is the window by which the mur- 
derer escaped ! " said Rouletabille. 

" So they keep on saying, monsieur, so they 
keep on saying ! But if he had gone off that way, 
we should have been sure to have seen him. We are 
not blind, neither Monsieur Stangerson nor me, 
nor the concierges who are in prison. Why have 
they not put me in prison, too, on account of my 
revolver? " 

Rouletabille had already opened the window and 
was examining the shutters. 

" Were these closed at the time of the crime? " 

" And fastened with the iron catch inside," said 
Daddy Jacques, " and I am quite sure that the 
murderer did not get out that way." 

" Are there any blood stains? " 

" Yes, on the stones outside ; but blood of 
what? " 


44 Ah ! " said Rouletabille, " there are footmarks 
risible on the path — the ground was very moist. 
I will look into that presently." 

44 Nonsense ! " interrupted Daddy Jacques ; " the 
murderer did not go that way." 
44 Which way did he go, then? " 
44 How do I know? " j 

Rouletabille looked at everything, smelled every- 
thing. He went down on his knees and rapidly 
examined every one of the paving tiles. Daddy 
Jacques went on : — 

44 Ah ! — you can't find anything, monsieur. 
Nothing has been found. And now it is all dirty ; 
too many persons have tramped over it. They 
wouldn't let me wash it, but on the day of the 
crime I had washed the floor thoroughly, and if 
the murderer had crossed it with his hobnailed 
boots, I should not have failed to see where he had 
been ; he has left marks enough in Mademoiselle's 

Rouletabille rose. 

"When was the last time you washed these 
tiles? " he asked, and he fixed on Daddy Jacques 
a most searching look. 

44 Why — as I told you — on the day of the 
crime, towards half -past five — while Mademoiselle 
and her father were taking a little walk before 
dinner, here in this room; they had dined in the 
laboratory. The next day, the examining magis- 
trate came and saw all the marks there were on the 
floor as plainly as if they had been made with ink 
on white paper. Well, neither in the laboratory 
nor in the vestibule, which were both as clean as a 



new pin, were there any traces of a man's foot- 
marks. Since tbey have been found near this win- 
dow outside, he must have made his way through 
the ceiling of The Yellow Room into the attic, 
then cut his way through the roof and dropped to 
the ground outside the vestibule window. But — 
there 's no hole, neither in the ceiling of The Yel- 
low Room nor in the roof of my attic — that 's 
absolutely certain! So you see we know nothing 
— nothing! And nothing will ever be known! 
It *s a mystery of the devil's own making." 

Rouletabille went down upon his knees again 
almost in front of a small lavatory at the back of 
the vestibule. In that position he remained for 
about a minute. 

" Well? " I asked him when he got up. 

" Oh ! nothing very important, — a drop of 
blood," he replied, turning towards Daddy Jacques 
as he spoke. " While you were washing the labora- 
tory and this vestibule, was the vestibule window 
open? " he asked. 

" No, Monsieur, it was closed ; but after I had 
done washing the floor, I lit some charcoal for 
Monsieur in the laboratory furnace, and, as I lit 
it with old newspapers, it smoked, so I opened both 
the windows in the laboratory and this one, to make 
a current of air; then I shut those in the labora- 
tory and left this one open when I went out. When 
I returned to the pavilion, this window had been 
closed and Monsieur and Mademoiselle were already 
at work in the laboratory." 

" Monsieur or Mademoiselle Stangerson had, no 
doubt, shut it? " 



" No doubt." 

" You did not ask them? " 

" No." 

After a close scrutiny of the little lavatory and 
of the staircase leading up to the attic, Rouleta- 
bille — to whom we seemed no longer to exist — 
entered the laboratory. I followed him. It was, I 
confess, in a state of great excitement. Robert 
Darzac lost none of my friend's movements. As for 
me, my eyes were drawn at once to the door of The 
Yellow Room. It was closed and, as I immediately 
saw, partially shattered and out of commission. 

My friend, who went about his work methodi- 
cally, silently studied the room in which we were. 
It was large and well-lighted. Two big windows 
— almost bays — were protected by strong iron 
bars and looked out upon a wide extent of country. 
Through an opening in the forest, they commanded 
a wonderful view through the length of the valley 
and across the plain to the large town which could 
be clearly seen in fair weather. To-day, however, 
a mist hung over the ground — and blood in that 

The whole of one side of the laboratory was 
taken up with a large chimney, crucibles, ovens, 
and such implements as are needed for chemical 
experiments; tables, loaded with phials, papers, 
reports, an electrical machine, — an apparatus, as 
Monsieur Darzac informed me, employed by Pro- 
fessor Stangerson to demonstrate the Dissociation 
of Matter under the action of solar light — and 
other scientific implements. 

Along the walls were cabinets, plain or glass- 


fronted, through which were visible microscopes, 
special photographic apparatus, and a large quan- 
tity of crystals. 

Rouietabille, who was ferreting in the chimney, 
put his fingers into one of the crucibles. Suddenly 
he drew himself up, and held up a piece of half- 
consumed paper in his hand. He stepped up to 
where we were talking by one of the windows. 

" Keep that for us, Monsieur Darzac," he said. 

I bent over the piece of scorched paper which 
Monsieur Darzac took from the hand of Rouieta- 
bille, and read distinctly the only words that re- 
mained legible : — 

" Presbytery — lost nothing — charm, nor the 
gar — its brightness." 

Twice since the morning these same meaningless 
words had struck me, and, for the second time, I 
saw that they produced on the Sorbonne professor 
the same paralysing effect. Monsieur Darzac's 
first anxiety showed itself when he turned his eyes 
in the direction of Daddy Jacques. But, occupied 
as he was at another window, he had seen nothing. 
Then tremblingly opening his pocket-book he put 
the piece of paper into it, sighing : " My God ! " 

During this time, Rouietabille had mounted into 
the opening of the fire-grate — that is to say, he 
had got upon the bricks of a furnace — and was 
attentively examining the chimney, which grew 
narrower towards the top, the outlet from it being 
closed with sheets of iron, fastened into the brick- 
work, through which passed three small chimneys. 

" Impossible to get out that way," he said, 
jumping back into the laboratory. " Besides, even 



if he had tried to do it, he would have brought all 
that ironwork down to the ground. No, no; it 
is not on that side we have to search." 

Rouletabille next examined the furniture and 
opened the doors of the cabinet. Then he came to 
the windows, through which he declared no one 
could possibly have passed. At the second window 
he found Daddy Jacques in contemplation. 

" Well, Daddy Jacques," he said, " what are you 
looking at? " 

" That policeman who is always going round 
and round the lake. Another of those fellows who 
think they can see better than anybody else ! " 

" You don't know Frederic Larsan, Daddy 
Jacques, or you wouldn't speak of him in that 
way," said Rouletabille in a melancholy tone. " If 
there is anyone who will find the murderer, it will 
be he." And Rouletabille heaved a deep sigh. 

" Before they find him, they will have to learn 
how they lost him," said Daddy Jacques, stolidly. 

At length we reached the door of The Yellow 
Room itself. 

" There is the door behind which some terrible 
scene took place," said Rouletabille, with a solem- 
nity which, under any other circumstances, would 
have been comical. 


In Which Rouletabille Sets out on an 
Expedition under the Bed 

ROULETABILLE having pushed open the 
door of The Yellow Room paused on the 
threshold saying, with an emotion which I only 
later understood, "Ah, the perfume of the lady 
in black!" 

The chamber was dark. Daddy Jacques was 
about to open the blinds when Rouletabille stopped 

" Did not the tragedy take place in complete 
darkness? " he asked. 

" No, young man, I don't think so. Made- 
moiselle always had a night-light on her table, 
and I lit it every evening before she went to 
bed. I was a sort of chambermaid, you must 
understand, when the evening came. The real 
chambermaid did not come here much before the 
moriiing. Mademoiselle worked late — far into 
the night." 

" Where did the 'table with the night-light stand, 
— far from the bed? " 

" Some way from the bed." 

" Can you light the burner now?" 

" The lamp is broken and the oil that was in it 
was spilled when the table was upset. All the rest 



of the things in the room remain just as they were. 
I have only to open the blinds for you to see." 

" Wait." 

Rouletabille went back into the laboratory, 
closed the shutters of the two windows and the 
door of the vestibule. When we were in complete 
darkness, he lit a wax vesta, and asked Daddy 
Jacques to move to the middle of the chamber with 
it to the place where the night-light was burning 
that night. 

Daddy Jacques who was in his stockings — he 
usually left his sabots in the vestibule — entered 
The Yellow Room with his bit of a vesta. We 
vaguely distinguished objects overthrown on the 
floor, a bed in one corner, and, in front of us, to 
the left, the gleam of a looking-glass hanging on 
the wall, near to the bed. 

"That will do! — you may now open the 
blinds," said Rouletabille. 

" Don't come any further," Daddy Jacques 
begged, "you may make marks with your boots, 
and nothing must be deranged ; it *s an idea of the 
magistrate's — though he has nothing more to do 

And he pushed open the shutter. The pale day- 
light entered from without, throwing a sinister 
light on the saffron-coloured walls. The floor — 
for though the laboratory and the vestibule were 
tiled, The Yellow Room had a flooring of wood — 
was covered with a single yellow mat which was 
large enough to cover nearly the whole room, under 
the bed and under the dressing-table — the only 
piece of furniture that remained upright. The 
5 65 


centre round table, the night-table and two chairs 
had been overturned. These did not prevent a 
large stain of blood being visible on the mat, made, 
as Daddy Jacques informed us, by the blood which 
had flowed from the wound on Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson's forehead. Besides these stains, drops of 
blood had fallen in all directions, in line with the 
visible traces of the footsteps — large and black 
— of the murderer. Everything led to the pre- 
sumption that these drops of blood had fallen from 
the wound of the man who had, for a moment, 
placed his red hand on the wall. There were other 
traces of the same hand on the wall, but much less 

" See ! — see this blood on the wall ! " I could 
not help exclaiming. " The man who pressed his 
hand so heavily upon it in the darkness must cer- 
tainly have thought that he was pushing at a door ! 
That 's why he pressed on it so hard, leaving on the 
yellow paper the terrible evidence. I don't think 
there are many hands in the world of that sort. 
It is big and strong and the fingers are nearly all 
one as long as the other! The thumb is wanting 
and we have only the mark of the palm ; but if we 
follow the trace of the hand," I continued, " we see 
that, after leaving its imprint on the wall, the 
touch sought the door, found it, and then felt for 
the lock — " 

" No doubt," interrupted Rouletabille, chuck- 
ling, — " only there is no blood, either on the lock 
or on the bolt ! " 

"What does that prove ?" I rejoined with a 
good sense of which I was proud ; " he might have 



opened the lock with his left hand, which would 
have been quite natural, his right hand being 

44 He did n't open it at all ! " Daddy Jacques 
again exclaimed. " We are not fools ; and there 
vere four of us when we burst open the 

44 What a queer hand ! — Look what a queer 
hand it is ! " I said. 

" It is a very natural hand," said Rouletabille, 
44 of which the shape has been deformed by its hav- 
ing slipped on the wall. The man dried his hand 
on the wall. He must be a man about five feet 
eight in height." 

44 How do you come at that? " 

44 By the height of the marks on the wall." 

My friend next occupied himself with the mark 
of the bullet in the wall. It was a round hole. 

44 This ball was fired straight, not from above, 
and consequently, not from below." 

Rouletabille went back to the door and carefully 
examined the lock and the bolt, satisfying himself 
that the door had certainly been burst open from 
the outside, and, further, that the key had been 
' found in the lock on the inside of the chamber. 
He finally satisfied himself that with the key in 
, the lock, the door could not possibly be opened 
from without with another key. Having made sure 
of all these details, he let fall these words : " That *s 
better ! " — Then sitting down on the ground, he 
hastily took off his boots and, in his socks, went 
into the room. 

The first thing he did was to examine minutely 


the overturned furniture. We watched him in 

"Young fellow, you are giving yourself a 
great deal of trouble," said Daddy Jacques 

Rouletabille raised his head and said: — 

" You have spoken the simple truth, Daddy 
Jacques; your mistress did not have her hair in 
bands that evening. I was a donkey to have be- 
lieved she did." 

Then, with the suppleness of a serpent, he 
slipped under the bed. Presently we heard him 
ask : — 

"At what time, Monsieur Jacques, did Mon- 
sieur and Mademoiselle Stangerson arrive at the 
laboratory? " 

" At six o'clock." 

The voice of Rouletabille continued: 

" Yes, — he 's been under here, — that *s cer- 
tain; in fact, there was no where else where he 
could have hidden himself. Here, too, are the 
marks of his hobnails. When you entered — all 
four of you — did you look under the bed? " 

" At once, — we drew it right out of its 
place — " 

" And between the mattresses ? " 

" There was only one on the bed, and on that 
Mademoiselle was placed ; and Monsieur Stanger- 
son and the concierge immediately carried it into 
the laboratory. Under the mattress there was 
nothing but the metal netting, which could not con- 
ceal anything or anybody. Remember, monsieur, 
that there were four of us and we could n't fail to 


see everything — the chamber is so small and 
scantily furnished, and all was locked behind in 
the pavilion." 

I ventured on a hypothesis: — 

" Perhaps he got away with the mattress — in 
the mattress! — Anything is possible, in the face 
of such a mystery! In their distress of mind 
Monsieur Stangerson and the concierge may not 
have noticed they were bearing a double weight; 
especially if the concierge were an accomplice! I 
throw out this hypothesis for what it is worth, 
but it explains many things, — and particularly 
the fact that neither the laboratory nor the vesti- 
bule bear any traces of the footmarks found in the 
room. If, in carrying Mademoiselle on the mat- 
tress from the laboratory of the chateau, they 
rested for a moment, there might have been an 
opportunity for the man in it to escape." 

"And then?" asked Rouletabille, deliberately 
laughing under the bed. 

I felt rather vexed and replied : — 

" I don't know, — but anything appears pos- 

" The examining magistrate had the same idea, 
monsieur," said Daddy Jacques, " and he care- 
fully examined the mattress. He was obliged to 
t laugh at the idea, monsieur, as your friend is 
doing now, — for whoever heard of a mattress 
having a double bottom?" 

I was myself obliged to laugh, on seeing that 
what I had said was absurd ; but in an affair like 
this one hardly knows where an absurdity begins 
or ends. 


My friend alone seemed able to talk intelligently. 
He called out from under the bed. 

" The mat here has been moved out of place, — 
who did it? " 

" We did, monsieur," explained Daddy Jacques. 
" When we could not find the assassin, we asked 
ourselves whether there was not some hole in the 
floor — " 

" There is not," replied Rouletabille. " Is there 
a cellar? " 

" No, there *s no cellar. But that has not 
stopped our searching, and has not prevented the 
examining magistrate and his Registrar from 
studying the floor plank by plank, as if there had 
been a cellar under it." 

The reporter then reappeared. His eyes were 
sparkling and his nostrils quivered. He remained 
on his hands and knees. He could not be better 
likened than to an admirable sporting dog on the 
scent of some unusual game. And, indeed, he 
was scenting the steps of a man, — the man 
whom he has sworn to report to his master, the 
manager of the " Epoque." It must not be 
forgotten that Rouletabille was first and last a 

Thus, on his hands and knees, he made his way 
to the four corners of the room, so to speak, sniff- 
ing and going round everything — everything 
that we could see, which was not much, and every- 
thing that we could not see, which must have been 

The toilette table was a simple table standing 
on four legs ; there was nothing about it by which 



it could possibly be changed into a temporary 
hiding-place. There was not a closet or cupboard. 
Mademoiselle Stangerson kept her wardrobe at 
the chateau. 

Rouletabille literally passed his nose and hands 
along the walls, constructed of solid brickwork. 
When he had finished with the walls, and passed 
his agile fingers over every portion of the yellow 
paper covering them, he reached to the ceiling, 
which he was able to touch by mounting on a 
chair placed on the toilette table, and by moving 
this ingeniously constructed stage from place to 
place he examined every foot of it. When he had 
finished his scrutiny of the ceiling, where he care- 
fully examined the hole made by the second bullet, 
he approached the window, and, once more, ex- 
amined the iron bars and blinds, all of which 
were solid and intact. At last, he gave a grunt 
of satisfaction and declared " Now I am at 



"Well, — do you believe that the poor dear 
young lady was shut up when she was being mur- 
dered — when she cried out for help?" wailed 
Daddy Jacques. 

"Yes," said the young reporter, drying his 
forehead, " The Yellow Room was as tightly shut 
as an iron safe." 

" That," I said, " is why this mystery is the 
most surprising I know. Edgar Allan Poe, in 
the * Double Assassination of the Rue Morgue,' 
invented nothing like it. The place of that crime 
was sufficiently closed to prevent the escape of 
a man ; but there was that window through which 



the monkey, the perpetrator of the murder, could 
slip away! But here, there can be no question of 
an opening of any sort. The door was fastened, 
and through the window blinds, secure as they 
were, not even a fly could enter or get out." 

" True, true," assented Rouletabille as he kept 
on drying his forehead, which seemed to be per- 
spiring less from his recent bodily exertion than 
from his mental agitation. " Indeed, it 's a great, 
a beautiful, and a very curious mystery." 

"The Bete du bon Dieu," muttered Daddy 
Jacques, " the Bete du bon Dieu herself, if she 
had committed the crime, could not have escaped. 
Listen ! Do you hear it? Hush ! " 

Daddy Jacques made us a sign to keep quiet 
and, stretching his arm towards the wall nearest 
the forest, listened to something which we could 
not hear. 

" It *s answering," he said at length. " I must 
kill it. It is too wicked, but it 9 s the Bete du bon 
Dieu, and, every night, it goes to pray on the tomb 
of Sainte-Genevieve and nobody dares to touch her, 
for fear that Mother Angenoux should cast an 
evil spell on them." 

" How big is the Bete du bon Dieu? " 

" Nearly as big as a small retriever, — a mons- 
ter, I tell you. Ah! — I have asked myself 
more than once whether it was not her that took 
our poor Mademoiselle by the throat with her 
daws. But the Bete du bon Dieu does not wear 
hobnailed boots, nor fire revolvers, nor has she a 
hand like that! " exclaimed Daddy Jacques, again 
pointing out to us the red mark on the wall. " Be- 



sides, we should have seen her as well as we would 
have seen a man — " 

" Evidently," I said. " Before we had seen this 
Yellow Room, I had also asked myself whether the 
cat of Mother Angenoux — " 
" You also ! " cried Rouletabille. 
"Did n't you? "I asked. 

" Not for a moment. After reading the article 
in the * Matin,' I knew that a cat had nothing to 
do with the matter. But I swear now that a 
frightful tragedy has been enacted here. You say 
nothing about the Basque cap, or the handker- 
chief, found here, Daddy Jacques? " 

" Of course, the magistrate has taken them," 
the old man answered, hesitatingly. 

" I have n't seen either the handkerchief or the 
cap, yet I can tell you how they are made," the 
reporter said to him gravely. 

" Oh, you are very clever," said Daddy Jacques, 
coughing and embarrassed. 

" The handkerchief is a large one, blue with 
red stripes and the cap is an old Basque cap, like 
the one you are wearing now." 

" You are a wizard ! " said Daddy Jacques, try- 
ing to laugh and not quite succeeding. " How do 
you know that the handkerchief is blue with red 
stripes ? " 

" Because, if it had not been blue with red 
stripes, it would not have been found at all." 

Without giving any further attention to Daddy 
Jacques, my friend took a piece of paper from his 
pocket, and taking out a pair of scissors, bent over 
the footprints. Placing the paper over one of 



them he began to cut. In a short time he had made 
a perfect pattern which he handed to me, begging 
me not to lose it. 

He then returned to the window and, pointing 
to the figure of Fr6d£ric Larsan, who had not 
quitted the side of the lake, asked Daddy Jacques 
whether the detective had, like himself, been work- 
ing in The Yellow Room? " 

" No," replied Robert Darzac, who, since Rou- 
letabille had handed him the piece of scorched 
paper, had not uttered a word, "He pretends 
that he does not need to examine The Yellow 
Room. He says that the murderer made his es- 
cape from it in quite a natural way, and that he 
will, this evening, explain how he did it." 

As he listened to what Monsieur Darzac had to 
say, Rouletabille turned pale. 

" Has Frederic Larsan found out the truth, 
which I can only guess at? " he murmured. " He 
is very clever — very clever — and I admire him. 
But what we have to do to-day is something more 
than the work of a policeman, — something quite 
different from the teachings of experience. We 
have to take hold of our reason by the right end." 

The reporter rushed into the open air, agitated 
by the thought that the great and famous Fred 
might anticipate him in the solution of the problem 
of The Yellow Room. 

I managed to reach him on the threshold of the 

" Calm yourself, my dear fellow," I said. 
" Are n't you satisfied? " 

" Yes," he confessed to me, with a deep sigh. 


u I am quite satisfied. I have discovered many 

" Moral or material? " 

" Several moral, — one material. This, for 

And rapidly he drew from his waistcoat pocket 
a piece of paper in which he had placed a light 
coloured hair from a woman's head. 


The Examining Magistrate Questions 
Mademoiselle Stangerson 

TWO minutes later, as Rouletabille was bending 
over the footprints discovered in the park, 
under the window of the vestibule, a man, evi- 
dently a servant at the chateau, came towards 
us rapidly and called out to Monsieur Darzac then 
coming out of the pavilion: — 

" Monsieur Robert, the magistrate, you know, 
is questioning Mademoiselle. ,, 

Monsieur Darzac uttered a muttered excuse to 
us and set off running towards the chateau, the 
man running after him. 

" If the corpse can speak," I said, " it would be 
interesting to be there." 

" We must know," said my friend. " Let 's go 
to the chateau." And he drew me with him. But, 
at the chateau, a gendarme placed in the vestibule 
denied us admission up the staircase of the first 
floor. We were obliged to wait down stairs. 

This is what passed in the chamber of the victim 
while we were waiting below. 

The family doctor, finding that Mademoiselle 
Stangerson was much better, but fearing a relapse 
which would no longer permit of her being ques- 
tioned, had thought it his duty to inform th« 


examining magistrate of this, who decided to pro* 
ceed immediately with a brief examination. At this 
examination, the Registrar, Monsieur Stangerson, 
and the doctor were present. Later, I obtained 
the text of the report of the examination, and I 
give it here, in all its legal dryness : — 

" Question. Are you able, mademoiselle, without 
too much fatiguing yourself, to give some neces- 
sary details of the frightful attack of which you 
have been the victim? 

" Answer. I feel much better, monsieur, and 
I will tell you all I know. When I entered my 
chamber I did not notice anything unusual 

" Q. Excuse me, mademoiselle, — if you will 
allow me, I will ask you some questions and you 
will answer them. That will fatigue you less than 
making a long recital. 

" A. Do so, monsieur. 

" Q. What did you do on that day? — I want 
you to be as minute and precise as possible. I 
wish to know all you did that day, if it is not ask- 
ing too much of you. 

" A. I rose late, at ten o'clock, for my father 
and I had returned home late on the night previ- 
ously, having been to dinner at the reception given 
by the President of the Republic, in honour of the 
Academy of Science of Philadelphia. When I left 
my chamber, at half -past ten, my father was already 
at work in the laboratory. We worked together till 
midday. We then took half-an-hour's walk in the 
park, as we were accustomed to do, before break- 
fasting at the chateau. After breakfast, we took 



another walk for half an hour, and then returned 
to the laboratory. There we found my chamber- 
maid, who had come to set my room in order. I 
went into The Yellow Room to give her some slight 
orders and she directly afterwards left the pavil- 
ion, and I resumed my work with my father. At 
five o'clock, we again went for a walk in the park 
and afterward had tea. 

" Q. Before leaving the pavilion at five o'clock, 
did you go into your chamber? 

" A. No, monsieur, my father went into it, 
at my request to bring me my hat. 

" Q. And he found nothing suspicious there? 

" A. Evidently no, monsieur. 

" Q. It is, then, almost certain that the mur- 
derer was not yet concealed under the bed. When 
you went out, was the door of the room locked? 

" A. No, there was no reason for locking it. 

" Q. You were absent from the pavilion some 
length of time, Monsieur Stangerson and you? 

" A. About an hour. 

" Q. It was during that hour, no doubt, that 
the murderer got into the pavilion. But how? 
Nobody knows. Footmarks have been found in the 
park, leading away from the window of the vesti- 
bule, but none has been found going towards it. 
Did you notice whether the vestibule window was 
open when you went out ? 

" A. I don't remember. 

" Monsieur Stangerson. It was closed. 

" Q. And when you returned? 

" Mademoiselle Stangerson. I did not notice. 

* M. Stangerson. It was still closed. I remem- 


ber remarking aloud : * Daddy Jacques must surely 
have opened it while we were away/ 

44 Q. Strange ! — Do you recollect, Monsieur 
Stangerson, if during your absence, and before 
going out, he had opened it? You returned to 
the laboratory at six o'clock and resumed work? 

"Mademoiselle Stangerson. Yes, monsieur. 

44 Q. And you did not leave the laboratory from 
that hour up to the moment when you entered 
your chamber? 

" M. Stangerson. Neither my daughter nor I, 
monsieur. We were engaged on work that was 
pressing, and we lost not a moment, — neglecting 
everything else on that account. 

" Q. Did you dine in the laboratory? 

44 A. For that reason. 

44 Q. Are you accustomed to dine in the 
laboratory ? 

44 A. We rarely dine there. 

44 Q. Could the murderer have known that you 
would dine there that evening? 

44 M. Stangerson. Good Heavens ! — I think 
not. It was only when we returned to the pavilion 
at six o'clock, that we decided, my daughter and 
I, to dine there. At that moment I was spoken 
to by my gamekeeper, who detained me a moment, 
to ask me to accompany him on an urgent tour of 
inspection in a part of the woods which I had 
decided to thin. I put this off until the next day, 
and begged him, as he was going by the chateau, 
to tell the steward that we should dine in the lab- 
oratory. He left me, to execute the errand and I 
rejoined my daughter, who was already at work, 



" Q. At what hour, mademoiselle, did you go 
to your chamber while your father continued to 
work there? 

" A. At midnight. 

" Q. Did Daddy Jacques enter The Yellow 
Room in the course of the evening? 

"A. To shut the blinds and light the night- 

" Q. He saw nothing suspicious ? 

"A. He would have told us if he had seen. 
Daddy Jacques is an honest man and very attached 
to me. 

" Q. You affirm, Monsieur Stangerson, that 
Daddy Jacques remained with you all the time you 
were in the laboratory? 

" M. Stangerson. I am sure of it. I have no 
doubt of that. 

" Q. When you entered your chamber, made- 
moiselle, you immediately shut the door and locked 
and bolted it? That was taking unusual precau- 
tions, knowing that your father and your servant 
were there? Were you in fear of something, then? 

" A. My father would be returning to the 
chateau and Daddy Jacques would be going to his 
bed. And, in fact, I did fear something. 

" Q. You were so much in fear of something 
that you borrowed Daddy Jacques's revolver with- 
out telling him you had done so? 

" A. That is true. I did not wish to alarm any- 
body, — the more, because my fears might have 
proved to have been foolish. 

" Q. What was it you feared? 

" A. I hardly know how to tell you. For sev- 


eral nights, I seemed to hear, both in the park 
and out of the park, round the pavilion, unusual 
sounds, sometimes footsteps, at other times the 
cracking of branches. The night before the attack 
on me, when I did not get to bed before three 
o'clock in the morning, on our return from the 
Elysee, I stood for a moment before my window, 
and I felt sure I saw shadows. 

"Q. How many? 

" A. Two. They moved round the lake, — then 
the moon became clouded and I lost sight of them. 
At this time of the season, every year, I have gen- 
erally returned to my apartment in the chateau for 
the winter; but this year I said to myself that I 
would not quit the pavilion before my father had 
finished the resume of his works on the * Dissocia- 
tion of Matter ' for the Academy. I did not wish 
that that important work, which was to have been 
finished in the course of a few days, should be de- 
layed by a change in our daily habit. You can 
well understand that I did not wish to speak of my 
childish fears to my father, nor did I say any- 
thing to Daddy Jacques who, I knew, would not 
have been able to hold his tongue. Knowing that 
he had a revolver in his room, I took advantage 
of his absence and borrowed it, placing it in the 
drawer of my night-table. 

" Q. You know of no enemies you have? 

" A. None. 

" Q. You understand, mademoiselle, that these 
precautions are calculated to cause surprise? 

" M. Stangerson. Evidently, my child, such pre- 
cautions are very surprising. 
6 81 



; A. No ; — because I have told you that I had 
been uneasy for two nights. 

"M. Stangerson. You ought to have told me 
of that! This misfortune would have been 

" Q. The door of The Yellow Room locked, did 
you go to bed? 

" A. Yes, and, being very tired, I at once went 
to sleep. 

" Q. The night-light was still burning? 

" A. Yes, but it gave a very feeble light. 

" Q. Then, mademoiselle, tell us what happened. 

"A. I do not know whether I had been long 
asleep, but suddenly I awoke — and uttered a loud 

" M. Stangerson. Yes — a horrible cry — ' Mur- 
der ! ' — It still rings in my ears. 

" Q. You uttereed a loud cry ? 

" A. A man was in my chamber. He sprang at 
me and tried to strangle me. I was nearly stifled 
when suddenly I was able to reach the drawer of 
my night-table and grasp the revolver which I had 
placed in it. At that moment the man had forced 
me to the foot of my bed and brandished over my 
head a sort of mace. But I had fired. He imme- 
diately struck a terrible blow at my head. All 
that, monsieur, passed more rapidly than I can 
tell it, and I know nothing more. 

" Q. Nothing? — Have you no idea as to how 
the assassin could escape from your chamber? 

"A. None whatever — I know nothing more. 
One does not know what is passing around one, 
when one is unconscious. 



u Q. Was the man you saw tall or short, little 
or big? 

" A. I only saw a shadow which appeared to me 

" Q. You cannot give us any indication ? 

" A. I know nothing more, monsieur, than that 
a man threw himself upon me and that I fired at 
him. I know nothing more." 

Here the interrogation of Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson concluded. 

Rouletabille waited patiently for Monsieur Rob- 
ert Darzac, who soon appeared. 

From a room near the chamber of Mademoiselle 
Stangerson, he had heard the interrogatory and 
now came to recount it to my friend with great ex- 
actitude, aided by an excellent memory. His docil- 
ity still surprised me. Thanks to hasty pencil- 
notes, he was able to reproduce, almost textually, 
the questions and the answers given. 

It looked as if Monsieur Darzac were being em- 
ployed as the secretary of my young friend and 
acted as if he could refuse him nothing; nay, 
more, as if under a compulsion to do so. 

The fact of the closed window struck the re- 
porter as it had struck the magistrate. Rouleta- 
bille asked Darzac to repeat once more Made- 
moiselle Stangerson's account of how she and her 
father had spent their time on the day of the trag- 
edy, as she had stated it to the magistrate. The 
circumstance of the dinner in the laboratory seemed 
to interest him in the highest degree; and he had 



it repeated to him three times. He also wanted 
to be sure that the forest-keeper knew that the 
professor amd his daughter were going to dine in 
the laboratory, and how he had come to know it. 

When Monsieur Darzac had finished, I said: 
" The examination has not advanced the problem 

" It has put it back," said Monsieur Darzac. 

"It has thrown light upon it," said Rouleta- 
bille, thoughtfully. 


Reporter and Detective 

THE three of us went back towards the pavilion. 
At some distance from the building the re- 
porter made us stop and, pointing to a small clump 
of trees to the right of us, said : — 

" That 's where the murderer came from to get 
into the pavilion." 

As there were other patches of trees of the same 
sort between the great oaks, I asked why the mur- 
derer had chosen that one, rather than any of the 
others. Rouletabille answered me by pointing to 
the path which ran quite close to the thicket to 
the door of the pavilion. 

" That path is, as you see, topped with gravel," 
he said ; " the man must have passed along it going 
to the pavilion, since no traces of his steps have 
been found on the soft ground. The man did n't 
have wings; he walked; but he walked on the 
gravel which left no impression of his tread. The 
- gravel has, in fact, been trodden by many other 
feet, since the path is the most direct way between 
the pavilion and the chateau. As to the thicket, 
made of the sort of shrubs that don't flourish in 
the rough season — laurels and fuchsias — it of- 
fered the murderer a sufficient hiding-place until it 
was time for him to make his way to the pavilion* 


It was while hiding in that clump of trees that he 
saw Monsieur and Mademoiselle Stangerson, and 
then Daddy Jacques, leave the pavilion. Gravel 
has been spread nearly, very nearly, up to the 
windows of the pavilion. The footprints of a man, 
parallel with the wall — marks which we will ex- 
amine presently, and which I have already seen — 
prove that he only needed to make one stride to find 
himself in front of the vestibule window, left open 
by Daddy Jacques. The man drew himself up by 
his hands and entered the vestibule." 

" After all it is very possible," I said. 

" After all what? After all what? " cried Rou- 

I begged of him not to be angry ; but he was 
too much irritated to listen to me and declared, 
ironically, that he admired the prudent doubt 
with which certain people approached the most 
( simple problems, risking nothing by saying " that 
is so," or " that is not so." Their intelligence 
would have produced about the same result if 
nature had forgotten to furnish their brain-pan 
with a little grey matter. As I appeared vexed, 
my young friend took me by the arm and admitted 
that he had not meant that for me; he thought 
more of me than that. 

" If I did not reason as I do in regard to 
this gravel," he went on, " I should have to as- 
sume a balloon! — My dear fellow, the science 
of the aerostation of dirigible balloons is not yet 
developed enough for me to consider it and sup- 
pose that a murderer would drop from the clouds ! 
So don't say a thing is possible, when it could not 



be otherwise. We know now how the man entered 
by the window, and we also know the moment at 
which he entered, — during the five o'clock walk 
of the professor and his daughter. The fact of 
the presence of the chambermaid — who had come 
to clean up The Yellow Room — in the laboratory, 
when Monsieur Stangerson and his daughter re- 
turned from their walk, at half-past one, permits 
us to affirm that at half -past one the murderer was 
not in the chamber under the bed, unless he was in 
collusion with the chambermaid. What do you 
say, Monsieur Darzac? " 

Monsieur Darzac shook his head and said 
he was sure of the chambermaid's fidelity, and 
that she was a thoroughly honest and devoted 

" Besides," he added, " at five o'clock Monsieur 
Stangerson went into the room to fetch his 
daughter's hat." 

" There is that also," said Rouletabille. 

" That the man entered by the window at the 
time you say, I admit," I said ; " but why did he 
shut the window? It was an act which would nec- 
essarily draw the attention of those who had left 
it open." 

" It may be the window was not shut at once," 
replied the young reporter. " But if he did shut 
the window, it was because of the bend in the gravel 
path, a dozen yards from the pavilion, and on ac- 
count of the three oaks that are growing at that 

" What do you mean by that? " asked Mow^ieur 
Darzac, who had followed us and listened with 



almost breathless attention to all that Rouletabille 
had said. 

" I '11 explain all to you later on, Monsieur, when 
I think the moment to be ripe for doing so ; but I 
don't think I have anything of more importance 
to say on this affair, if my hypothesis is justified. ,, 

" And what is your hypothesis ? " ' 

" You will never know if it does not turn out to 
be the truth. It is of much too grave a nature to 
speak of it, so long as it continues to be only a 

" Have you, at least, some idea as to who the 
murderer is? " 

" No, monsieur, I don't know who the murderer 
is ; but don't be afraid, Monsieur Robert Darzac 
— I shall know." 

I could not but observe that Monsieur Darzac 
was deeply moved ; and I suspected that Rouleta- 
bille's confident assertion was not pleasing to him. 
Why, I asked myself, if he was really afraid that 
the murderer should be discovered, was he help- 
ing the reporter to find him? My young friend 
seemed to have received the same impression, for 
he said, bluntly: — 

" Monsieur Darzac don't you want me to find 
out who the murderer was? " 

" Oh ! — I should like to kill him with my own 
hand ! " cried Mademoiselle Stangerson's fiance, 
with a vehemence that amazed me. 

" I believe you," said Rouletabille gravely ; " but 
you have not answered my question." 

We were passing by the thicket, of which the 
young reporter had spoken to us a minute before. 



I entered it and pointed out evident traces of a 
man who had been hidden there. Rouletabille, once 
more, was right. 

" Yes, yes ! " he said. " We have to do with a 
thing of flesh and blood, who uses the same means 
that we do. It '11 all come out on those lines." 

Having said this, he asked me for the paper 
pattern of the footprint which he had given me 
to take care of, and applied it to a very clear foot- 
mark behind the thicket. " Aha ! " he said, rising. 

I thought he was now going to trace back the 
track of the murderer's footmarks to the vestibule 
window; but he led us instead, far to the left, 
saying that it was useless ferreting in the mud, 
and that he was sure, now, of the road taken by 
the murderer. 

" He went along the wall to the hedge and dry 
ditch, over which he jumped. See, just in front 
of the little path leading to the lake, that was his 
nearest way to get out." 

" How do you know he went to the lake? " 

" Because Frederic Larsan has not quitted the 
borders of it since this morning. There must be 
some important marks there." 

A few minutes later we reached the lake. 

It was a little sheet of marshy water, surrounded 
by reeds, on which floated some dead water-lily 
leaves. The great Fred may have seen us ap- 
proaching, but we probably interested him very 
little, for he took hardly any notice of us and con- 
tinued to be stirring with his cane something which 
we could not see. 

" Look ! " said Rouletabille, " here again are the 


footmarks of the escaping man; they skirt the 
lake here and finally disappear just before this 
path, which leads to the high road to Epinay. 
The man continued his flight to Paris." 

" What makes you think that? " I asked, " since 
these footmarks are not continued on the path? " 

u What makes me think that? — Why these foot' 
prints, which I expected to find ! " he cried, point- 
ing to the sharply outlined imprint of a neat 
boot. " See ! " — and he called to Frederic Larsan. 

" Monsieur Fred, these neat footprints seem 
to have been made since the discovery of the crime." 

" Yes, young man, yes, they have been carefully 
made," replied Fred without raising his head. 
" You see, there are steps that come, and steps 
that go back." 

" And the man had a bicycle ! " cried the 

Here, after looking at the marks of the bicycle, 
which followed, going and coming, the neat foot- 
prints, I thought I might intervene. 

" The bicycle explains the disappearance of the 
murderer's big footprints," I said. " The mur- 
derer, with his rough boots, mounted a bicycle. 
His accomplice, the wearer of the neat boots, 
had come to wait for him on the edge of the lake 
.with the bicycle. It might be supposed that the 
murderer was working for the other." 

" No, no ! " replied Rouletabille with a strange 
smile. " I have expected to find these footmarks 
from the very beginning. These are not the foot- 
marks of the murderer ! " 

" Then there were two? n 


"No — there was but one, and he had no 

" Very good ! — Very good ! " cried Fr&teric 

" Look ! " continued the young reporter, showing 
us the ground where it had been disturbed by big\ 
and heavy heels ; " the man seated himself there, ' 
and took off his hobnailed boots, which he had 
worn only for the purpose of misleading detection, 
and then no doubt, taking them away with him, 
he stood up in his own boots, and quietly and slowly 
regained the high road, holding his bicycle in his 
hand, for he could not venture to ride it on this 
rough path. That accounts for the lightness of 
the impression made by the wheels along it, in 
spite of the softness of the ground. If there had 
been a man on the bicycle, the wheels would have 
sunk deeply into the soil. No, no ; there was but 
one man there, the murderer on foot." 

" Bravo ! — bravo ! " cried Fred again, and com- 
ing suddenly towards us and, planting himself in 
front of Monsieur Robert Darzac, he said to 
him: — 

" If we had a bicycle here, we might demonstrate 
the correctness of the young man's reasoning, 
Monsieur Robert Darzac. Do you know whether 
there is one at the chateau? " 

" No ! " replied Monsieur Darzac. " There is 
not. I took mine, four days ago, to Paris, the 
last time I came to the chateau before the crime." 

" That 's a pity ! " replied Fred, very coldly. 
Then, turning to Rouletabille, he said : " If we 
go on at this rate, we'll both come to the same 



conclusion. Have you any idea, as to how the 
murderer got away from The Yellow Room? " 

" Yes," said my young friend; " I have an idea." 

" So have I," said Fred, " and it must be the 
same as yours. There are no two ways of reason- 
ing in this affair. I am waiting for the arrival of 
my chief before offering any explanation to the 
examining magistrate." 

" Ah ! Is the Chief of the Surety coining? " 

" Yes, this afternoon. He is going to summon, 
before the magistrate, in the laboratory, all those 
who have played any part in this tragedy. It will 
be very interesting. It is a pity you won't be able 
to be present." 

" I shall be present," said Rouletabille con- 

" Really — you are an extraordinary fellow — 
for your age ! " replied the detective in a tone not 
wholly free from irony. " You 'd make a wonder- 
ful detective — if you had a little more method — 
if you did n't follow your instincts and that bump 
on your forehead. As I have already several times 
observed, Monsieur Rouletabille, you reason too 
much; you do not allow yourself to be guided by 
what you have seen. What do you say to the hand- 
kerchief full of blood, and the red mark of the 
hand on the wall? You have seen the stain on the 
wall, but I have only seen the handkerchief." 

" Bah ! " cried Rouletabille, " the murderer was 
wounded in the hand by Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son's revolver ! " 

" Ah ! — a simply instinctive observation ! Take 
care! — You are becoming too strictly logical, 



Monsieur Rouletabille ; logic will upset you if you 
use it indiscriminatively. You are right, when 
you say that Mademoiselle Stangerson fired her 
revolver, but you are wrong when you say that 
she wounded the murderer in the hand." 

" I am sure of it," cried Rouletabille. 

Fred, imperturbable, interrupted him: — 

" Defective observation — defective observa- 
tion! — the examination of the handkerchief, the 
numberless little round scarlet stains, the im- 
pression of drops which I found in the tracks of 
the footprints, at the moment when they were made 
on the floor, prove to me that the murderer was 
not wounded at all. Monsieur Rouletabille, the 
murderer bled at the nose ! " 

The great Fred spoke quite seriously. How- 
ever, I could not refrain from uttering an ex- 

The reporter looked gravely at Fred, who 
looked gravely at him. And Fred immediately 
concluded : — 

" The man allowed the blood to flow into his 
hand and handkerchief, and dried his hand on the 
wall. The fact is highly important," he added, 
" because there is no need of his being wounded in 
the hand for him to be the murderer." 

Rouletabille seemed to be thinking deeply. After 
a moment he said: — 

" There is something — a something, Monsieur 
Frederic Larsan, much graver than the misuse of 
logic — the disposition of mind in some detectives 
which makes them, in perfect good faith, twist 
logic to the necessities of their preconceived ideas. 



You, already, have your idea about the murderer, 
Monsieur Fred. Don't deny it; and your theory 
demands that the murderer should not have been 
wounded in the hand, otherwise it comes to noth- 
ing. And you have searched, and have found 
something else. It *s dangerous, very dangerous, 
Monsieur Fred, to go from a preconceived idea 
to find the proofs to fit it. That method may lead 
you far astray. Beware of judicial error, Mon- 
sieur Fred, it will trip you up ! " 

And laughing a little, in a slightly bantering 
tone, his hands in his pockets, Rouletabille fixed 
his cunning eyes on the great Fred. 

Fr6d6ric Larsan silently contemplated the young 
reporter who pretended to be as wise as himself. 
Shrugging his shoulders, he bowed to us and 
moved quickly away, hitting the stones on his 
path with his stout cane. 

Rouletabille watched his retreat, and then turned 
toward us, his face joyous and triumphant. 

"I shall beat him!" he cried. "I shall beat 
the great Fred, clever as he is ; I shall beat them 

And he danced a double shuffle. Suddenly he 
stopped. My eyes followed his gaze; they were 
fixed on Monsieur Robert Darzac, who was look- 
ing anxiously at the impression left by his feet 
side by side with the elegant footmarks. There 
was not a particle of difference between them ! 

We thought he was about to faint. His eyes, 
bulging with terror, avoided us, while his right 
hand, with a spasmodic movement, twitched at 
the beard that covered his honest, gentle, and 



now despairing face. At length regaining his 
self-possession, he bowed to us, and remarking, 
in a changed voice, that he was obliged to return 
to the chateau, left us. 

" The deuce ! " exclaimed Rouletabille. 

He, also, appeared to be deeply concerned. 
From his pocket-book he took a piece of white 
paper as I had seen him do before, and with his 
scissors, cut out the shape of the neat boot- 
marks that were on the ground. Then he fitted 
the new paper pattern with the one he had pre- 
viously made — the two were exactly alike. Ris- 
ing, Rouletabille exclaimed again : " The deuce ! " 
Presently he added: "Yet I believe Monsieur 
Robert Darzac to be an honest man." He then 
led me on the road to the Donjon Inn, which we 
could see on the highway, by the side of a small 
clump of trees. 


" We Shall Have to Eat Red Meat — Nw>" 

THE Donjon Inn was of no imposing appear- 
ance; but I like these buildings with their 
rafters blackened with age and the smoke of their 
hearths — these inns of the coaching-days, crum- 
bling erections that will soon exist in the memory 
only. They belong to the bygone days, they are 
linked with history. They make us think of the 
Road, of those days when highwaymen rode. 

I saw at once that the Donjon Inn was at least 
two centuries old — perhaps older. Under its 
sign-board, over the threshold, a man with a 
crabbed-looking face was standing, seemingly 
plunged in unpleasant thought, if the wrinkles 
on his forehead and the knitting of his brows 
were any indication. 

When we were close to him, he deigned xo see 
us and asked us, in a tone anything but engaging, 
whether we wanted anything. He was, no doubt, 
the not very amiable landlord of this charming 
dwelling-place. As we expressed a hope that he 
would be good enough to furnish us with a break- 
fast, he assured us that he had no provisions, 
regarding us, as he said this, with a look that 
was unmistakably suspicious. 



u You may take us in," Rouletabille said to him, 
"we are not policemen." 

" I 'm not afraid of the police — I *m not afraid 
of anyone ! " replied the man. 

I had made my friend understand by a sign 
that we should do better not to insist ; but, being 
determined to enter the inn, he slipped by the 
man on the doorstep and was in the common 

" •Come on," he said, " it is very comfortable 

A good fire was blazing in the chimney, and we 
held our hands to the warmth it sent out ; it was 
a nwrning in which the approach of winter was un- 
mistakable. The room was a tolerably large one, 
furnished with two heavy tables, some stools, a 
oMnter decorated with rows of bottles of syrup 
aad alcohol. Three windows looked out on to the 
road. A coloured advertisement lauded the many 
merits of a new vermouth. On the mantelpiece 
was arrayed the innkeeper's collection of figured 
earthenware pots and stone jugs. 

" That *s a fine fire for roasting a chicken," 
said Rouletabille. 

u We have no chicken — not even a wretched 
rabbit," said the landlord. 

* I know," said my friend slowly ; " I know — 
We shall have to eat red meat — now." 

I confess I did not in the least understand what 
Rouletabille meant by what he had said; but the 
landlord, as soon as he heard the words, uttered 
an oath, which he at once stifled, and placed him- 
self at our orders as obediently as Monsieur 
7 07 


Robert Darzac had done, when he heard Rouleta- 
bille's prophetic sentence — " The presbytery has 
lost nothing of its charm, nor the garden its 
brightness." Certainly my friend knew how to 
make people understand him by the use of wholly 
incomprehensible phrases. I observed as much to 
him, but he merely smiled. I should have pro- 
posed that he give me some explanation; but he 
put a finger to his lips, which evidently signified 
that he had not only determined not to speak, 
but also enjoined silence on my part. 

Meantime the man had pushed open a little side 
door and called to somebody to bring him half 
a dozen eggs and a piece of beefsteak. The com- 
mission was quickly executed by a strongly-built 
young woman with beautiful blonde hair and 
large, handsome eyes, who regarded us with 

The innkeeper said to her roughly : — 

" Get out ! — and if the Green Man comes, don't 
let me see him." 

She disappeared. Rouletabille took the eggs, 
which had been brought to him in a bowl, and the 
meat which was on a dish, placed all carefully 
beside him in the chimney, unhooked a frying-pan 
and a gridiron, and began to beat up our ome- 
lette before proceeding to grill our beefsteak. 
He then ordered two bottles of cider, and 
seemed to take as little notice of our host as 
our host did of him. The landlord let us do our 
own cooking and set our table near one of the 

Suddenly I heard him mutter : 


"Ah! — there he is." 

His face had changed, expressing fierce hatred. 
He went and glued himself to one of the windows, 
watching the road. There was no need for me 
to draw Rouletabille's attention; he had already 
left our omelette and had joined the landlord at 
^the window. I went with him. 

A man dressed entirely in green velvet, his head 
covered with a huntsman's cap of the same colour, 
was advancing leisurely, lighting a pipe as he 
walked. He carried a fowling-piece slung at his 
back. His movements displayed an almost aristo- 
cratic ease. He wore eye-glasses and appeared to 
be about five and forty years of age. His hair as 
well as his moustache were salt grey. He was re- 
markably handsome. As he passed near the inn, he 
hesitated, as if asking himself whether or no he 
should enter it; gave a glance towards us, took a 
few whiffs at his pipe, and then resumed his walk at 
the same nonchalant pace. 

Rouletabille and I looked at our host. His 
flashing eyes, his clenched hands, his trembling 
lips, told us of the tumultuous feelings by which 
he was being agitated. 

" He has done well not to come in here to-day ! " 
he hissed. 

"Who is that man?" asked Rouletabille, re- 
turning to his omelette. 

" The Green Man," growled the innkeeper. 
"Don't you know him? Then all the better for 
you. He is not an acquaintance to make. — Well, 
he is Monsieur Stangerson's forest-keeper." 

"You don't appear to like him very much?" 


asked the reporter, pouring his omelette into the 

" Nobody likes him, monsieur. He 's an upstart 
who must once have had a fortune of his own ; and 
he forgives nobody because, in order to live, he 
has been compelled to become a servant. A keeper 
is as much a servant as any other, is n't he? Upon 
my word, one would say that he is the master of 
the Glandier, and that all the land and woods be- 
long to him. He'll not let a poor creature eat 
a morsel of bread on the grass — his grass ! " 

" Does he often come here? " 

"Too often. But I've made him understand 
that his face does n't please me, and, for a month 
past, he hasn't been here. The Donjon Inn has 
never existed for him! — he hasn't had time! — 
been too much engaged in paying court to the land- 
lady of the Three Lilies at Saint-Michel. A bad 
fellow ! — There is n't an honest man who can bear 
him. Why, the concierges of the chateau would 
turn their eyes away from a picture of him ! " 

" The concierges of the chateau are honest 
people, then? " 

" Yes, they are, as true as my name 's Mathieu, 
monsieur. I believe them to be honest." 

" Yet they 've been arrested? " 

"What does that prove? — But I don't want 
to mix myself up in other people's affairs." 

" And what do you think of the murder? " 

" Of the murder of poor Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son? — A good girl much loved everywhere in the 
country. That 's what I think of it — and many 
things besides ; but that 's nobody's business." 


"Not even mine?" insisted Rouletabille. 

The innkeeper, looked at him sideways and said 

" Not even yours." 

The omelette ready, we sat down at table and 
were silently eating, when the door was pushed 
open and an old woman, dressed in rags, leaning 
on a stick, her head doddering, her white hair 
hanging loosely over her wrinkled forehead, ap- 
peared on the threshold. 

"Ah! — there you are, Mother Angenoux! — 
It *s long since we saw you last," said our host. 

" I have been very ill, very nearly dying," said 
the old woman. " If ever you should have any 
scraps for the Bete du Bon Dieu — ? " 

And she entered, followed by a cat, larger than 
any I had ever believed could exist. The beast 
looked at us and gave so hopeless a miau that I 
shuddered. I had never heard so lugubrious a cry. 

As if drawn by the cat's cry a man followed the 
old woman in. It was the Green Man. He saluted 
by raising his hand to his cap and seated himself 
at a table near to ours. 

" A glass of cider, Daddy Mathieu," he said. 

As the Green Man entered, Daddy Mathieu had 
started violently ; but visibly mastering himself he 
said : — 

" I *ve no more cider ; I served the last bottles 
to these gentlemen." 

" Then give me a glass of white wine," said the 
Green Man, without showing the least surprise. 

" I *ve no more white wine — no more any- 
thing," said Daddy Mathieu, surlily. 



"How is Madame Mathieu?" 

" Quite well, thank you." 

So the young woman with the large, tender eyes, 
whom we had just seen, was the wife of this re- 
pugnant and brutal rustic, whose jealousy seemed 
to emphasise his physical ugliness. 

Slamming the door behind him, the innkeeper 
left the room. Mother Angenoux was still stand- 
ing, leaning on her stick, the cat at her feet. 

" You *ve been ill, Mother Angenoux? — Is that 
why we have not seen you for the last week? " 
asked the Green Man. 

"Yes, Monsieur keeper. I have been able to 
get up but three times, to go to pray to Sainte- 
Genevifeve, our good patroness, and the rest of the 
time I have been lying on my bed. There was no 
one to care for me but the Bete du bon Dieul " 

" Did she not leave you? " 

" Neither by day nor by night." 

" Are you sure of that? " 

" As I am of Paradise." 

" Then how was it, Madame Angenoux, that all 
through the night of the murder nothing but the 
cry of the Bete du bon Dieu was heard? " 

Mother Angenoux planted herself in front of 
the forest-keeper and struck the floor with her 

"I don't know anything about it," she said 
" But shall I tell you something? There are no 
two cats in the world that cry like that. Well, on 
the night of the murder I also heard the cry of 
the Bete du bon Dieu outside ; and yet she was on 
my knees, and did not mew once, I swear. I crossed 



myself when I heard that, as if I had heard the 

I looked at the keeper when he put the last 
question, and I am much mistaken if I did not 
detect an evil smile on his lips. At that moment, 
the noise of loud quarrelling reached us. We even 
thought we heard a dull sound of blows, as if some 
one was being beaten. The Green Man quickly 
rose and hurried to the door by the side of the 
fireplace; but it was opened by the landlord who 
appeared, and said to the keeper: — 

"Don't alarm yourself, Monsieur — it is my 
wife; she has the toothache." And he laughed. 
" Here, Mother Angenoux, here are some scraps 
for your cat." 

He held out a packet to the old woman, who 
took it eagerly and went out by the door, closely 
followed by her cat. 

" Then you won't serve me? " asked the Green 

Daddy Mathieu's face was placid and no longer 
retained its expression of hatred. 

" I *ve nothing for you — nothing for you. 
Take yourself off." 

The Green Man quietly refilled his pipe, lit it, 
bowed to us, and went out. No sooner was he over 
J the threshold than Daddy Mathieu slammed the 
door after him and, turning towards us, with eyes 
bloodshot, and frothing at the mouth, he hissed 
to us, shaking his clenched fist at the door he had 
just shut on the man he evidently hated: 

" I don't know who you are who tell me ' We 
shall have to eat red meat — now 9 ; but if it 


will interest you to know it — that man is the 
murderer ! " 

With which words Daddy Mathieu immediately 
left us. Rouletabille returned towards the fire- 
place and said: 

" Now we '11 grill our steak. How do you like 
the cider? — It 's a little tart, but I like it." 

We saw no more of Daddy Mathieu that day, 
and absolute silence reigned in the inn when we 
left it, after placing five francs on the table in 
payment for our feast. 

Rouletabille at once set off on a three mile 
walk round Professor Stangerson's estate. He 
halted for some ten minutes at the corner of a nar- 
row road black with soot, near to some charcoal- 
burners' huts in the forest of Sainte-Genevifeve, 
which touches on the road from Epinay to Corbeil, 
to tell me that the murderer had certainly passed 
that way, before entering the grounds and con- 
cealing himself in the little clump of trees. 

" You don't think, then, that the keeper knows 
anything of it? " I asked. 

" We shall see that, later," he replied. " For the 
present I *m not interested in what the landlord 
said about the man. The landlord hates him. I 
didn't take you to breakfast at the Donjon Inn 
for the sake of the Green Man." 

Then Rouletabille, with great precaution glided, 
followed by me, towards the little building which, 
standing near the park gate, served for the home 
of the concierges, who had been arrested that 
morning. With the skill of an acrobat, he got 
into the lodge by an upper window which had been 



left open, and returned ten minutes later. He 
said only, " Ah ! " — a word which, in his mouth, 
signified many things. 

We were about to take the road leading to the 
chateau, when a considerable stir at the park gate 
attracted our attention. A carriage had arrived 
and some people had come from the chateau to 
meet it. Rouletabille pointed out to me a gentle- 
man who descended from it. 

"That's the Chief of the SfiretS," he said. 
" Now we shall see what Frederic Larsan has up 
his sleeve, and whether he is so much cleverer than 
anybody else." 

The carriage of the Chief of the SfiretS was fol- 
lowed by three other vehicles containing reporters, 
who were also desirous of entering the park. But 
two gendarmes stationed at the gate had evidently 
received orders to refuse admission to anybody. 
The Chief of the Sfirete calmed their impatience 
by undertaking to furnish to the press, that even- 
ing, all the information he could give that would 
not interfere with the judicial inquiry. 



in Which Frideric Larsan Explains How 

the Murderer Was Able to Get out 

of The Yellow Room 

AMONG the mass of papers, legal documents, 
memoirs, and extracts from newspapers, 
which I have collected, relating to the mystery of 
" The Yellow Room," there is one very interest- 
ing piece ; it is a detail of the famous examination 
which took place that afternoon, in the laboratory 
of Professor Stangerson, before the Chief of the 
Sfirete. This narrative is from the pen of Mon- 
sieur Maleine, the Registrar, who, like the examin- 
ing magistrate, had spent some of his leisure time 
in the pursuit of literature. The piece was to have 
made part of a book which, however, has never 
been published, and which was to have been en- 
titled : " My Examinations." It was given to me 
by the Registrar himself, some time after the as- 
tonishing denouement to this case, and is unique 
in judicial chronicles. 

Here it is. It is not a mere dry transcription 
of questions and answers, because the Registrar 
often intersperses his story with his own personal 



The Registrar's Narrative 

The examining magistrate and I (the writer 
relates) found ourselves in " The Yellow Room " 
in the company of the builder who had constructed 
the pavilion after Professor Stangerson's designs. 
He had a workman with him. Monsieur de Mar- 
quet had had the walls laid entirely bare ; that is 
to say, he had had them stripped of the paper 
which had decorated them. Blows with a pick, 
here and there, satisfied us of the non-existence of 
any sort of opening. The floor and the ceiling 
were thoroughly sounded. We found nothing. 
There was nothing to be found. Monsieur de Mar- 
quet appeared to be delighted and never ceased 

" What a case ! What a case ! We shall never 
know, you 'U see, how the murderer was able to get 
out of this room ! " 

Then suddenly, with a radiant face, he called to 
the officer in charge of the gendarmes. 

" Go to the chateau," he said, " and request 
Monsieur Stangerson and Monsieur Robert Dar- 
zac to come to me in the laboratory, also Daddy 
Jacques; and let your men bring here the two 

Five minutes later all were assembled in the 
laboratory. The Chief of the Surete, who had ar- 
rived at the Glandier, joined us at that moment. I 
was seated at Monsieur Stangerson's desk ready 
for work, when Monsieur tie* Marquet made us the 
following little speech — as .original as it was 
unexpected : — 



" With your permission, gentlemen — as exam- 
inations lead to nothing — we will, for once, aban- 
don the old system of interrogation. I will not have 
you brought before me one by one, but we will all re- 
main here as we are, — Monsieur Stangerson, Mon- 
sieur Robert Darzac, Daddy Jacques, and the two 
concierges, the Chief of the Sdret6, the Registrar, 
and myself. We shall all be on the same footing. 
The concierges may, for the moment, forget that 
they have been arrested. We are going to confer 
together. We are on the spot where the crime was 
committed. We have nothing else to discuss but 
the crime. So let us discuss it freely — intelli- 
gently or otherwise, so long as we speak just what 
is in our minds. There need be no formality or 
method since this won't help us in any way." 

Then, passing before me, he said in a low 
voice : 

" What do you think of that, eh? What a scene ! 
Could you have thought of that? I *H make a little 
piece out of it for the Vaudeville." And he rubbed 
his hands with glee. 

I turned my eyes on Monsieur Stangerson. The 
hope he had received from the doctor's latest re- 
ports, who had stated that Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son might recover from her wounds, had not been 
able to efface from his noble features the marks of 
the great sorrow that was upon him. He had 
believed his daughter to be dead, and he was still 
broken by that belief. His clear, soft, blue eyes 
expressed infinite sorrow. I had had occasion, 
many times, to see Monsieur Stangerson at public 
ceremonies, and from the first had been struck 


by his countenance, which seemed as pure as 
that of a child — the dreamy gaze with the sub- 
lime and mystical expression of the inventor and 

On those occasions his daughter was always to be 
seen either following him or by his side ; for they 
never quitted each other, it was said, and had shared 
the same labours for many years. The young 
lady, who was then five and thirty, though she 
looked no more than thirty, had devoted herself 
entirely to science. She still won admiration for 
her imperial beauty which had remained intact, 
without a wrinkle, withstanding time and love. 
Who would have dreamed that I should one day 
be seated by her pillow with my papers, and that 
I should see her, on the point of death, painfully re* 
counting to us the most monstrous and most mys- 
terious crime I have heard of in my career? Who 
would have thought that I should be, that after- 
noon, listening to the despairing father vainly try- 
ing to explain how his daughter's assailant had 
been able to escape from him? Why bury ourselves 
with our work in obscure retreats in the depths of 
woods, if it may not protect us against those dan- 
gerous chances to life and death which meet us in 
the busy cities? 

" Now, Monsieur Stangerson," said Monsieur 
de Marquet, with somewhat of an important air, 
"place yourself exactly where you were when 
Mademoiselle Stangerson left you to go to her 

Monsieur Stangerson rose and, standing at a 
certain distance from the door of The Yellow 



Room, said, in an even voice and without the least 
trace of emphasis — a voice which I can only de- 
scribe as a dead voice : — 

" I was here. About eleven o'clock, after I had 
made a brief chemical experiment at the furnaces 
of the laboratory, needing all the space behind 
me, I had my desk moved here by Daddy Jacques, 
who spent the evening in cleaning some of my ap- 
paratus. My daughter had been working at the same 
desk with me. When it was her time to leave she 
rose, kissed me, and bade Daddy Jacques good- 
night. She had to pass behind my desk and the door 
to enter her chamber, and she could do this only 
with some difficulty. That is to say, I was very 
near the place where the crime occurred later." 

"And the desk? " I asked, obeying, in thus mix- 
ing myself in the conversation, the express orders 
of my chief, " as soon as you heard the cry of 
* murder ' followed by the revolver shots, what 
became of the desk ? " 

Daddy Jacques answered. 

"We pushed it back against the wall, here — 
close to where it is at the present moment — so as 
to be able to get at the door at once." 

I followed up my reasoning, to which, however, 
I attached but little importance, regarding it as 
only a weak hypothesis, with another question. 

" Might not a man in the room, the desk being so 
near to the door, by stooping and slipping under 
the desk, have left it unobserved? " 

" You are forgetting," interrupted Monsieur 
Stangerson wearily, " that my daughter had locked 
and bolUJ her door, that the door had remained 



fastened, that we vainly tried to force it open when 
we heard the noise, and that we were at the door 
while the struggle between the murderer and my 
poor child was going on immediately after we 
heard her stifled cries while she was being held by 
the fingers that have left their red mark upon her 
throat. Rapid as the attack was, we were no less 
rapid in our endeavours to get into the room 
where the tragedy was taking place." 

I rose from my seat and once more examined the 
door with the greatest care. Then I returned to 
my place with a despairing gesture. 

" If the lower panel of the door," I said, " could 
be removed without the whole door being neces- 
sarily opened, the problem would be solved. But, 
unfortunately, that last hypothesis is untenable 
after an examination of the door — it *s of oak, 
solid and massive. You can see that quite plainly, 
in spite of the injury done in the attempt to burst 
it open." 

" Ah ! " cried Daddy Jacques, " it is an old and 
solid door that was brought from the chateau — 
they don't make such doors now. We had to use 
this bar of iron to get it open, all four of us — for 
the concierge, brave woman she is — helped us. 
It pains me to find them both in prison now." 

Daddy Jacques had no sooner uttered these 
words of pity and protestation than tears and 
lamentations broke out from the concierges. I 
never saw two accused people crying more bitterly. 
I was extremely disgusted. Even if they were inno- 
cent, I could not understand how they could be- 
have like that in the face of misfortune. A digni- 



fied bearing at such times is better than tears and 
groans, which, most often, are feigned. 

" Now then, enough of that snivelling," cried 
Monsieur de Marquet ; " and, in your interest, 
tell us what you were doing under the windows of 
the pavilion at the time your mistress was being 
attacked ; for you were close to the pavilion when 
Daddy Jacques met you." 

M We were coming to help ! " they whined. 

" If we could only lay hands on the murderer, 
he *d never taste bread again ! " the woman gurgled 
between her sobs. 

As before we were unable to get two connecting 
thoughts out of them. They persisted in their 
denials and swore, by heaven and all the saints, 
that they were in bed when they heard the sound 
of the revolver shot. 

M It was not one, but two shots that were fired ! 
— You see, you are lying. If you had heard one, 
you would have heard the other." 

" Mon Dieu ! Monsieur — it was the second 
shot we heard. We were asleep when the first shot 
was fired." 

" Two shots were fired," said Daddy Jacques. 
" I am certain that aU the cartridges were in my 
revolver. We found afterward that two had been 
exploded, and we heard two shots behind the door. 
Was not that so, Monsieur Stangerson? " 

" Yes," replied the Professor, " there were two 
shots, one dull, and the other sharp and ringing." 

" Why do you persist in lying? " cried Monsieur 
de Marquet, turning to the concierges. " Do you 
think the police are the fools you are? Everything 


points to the fact that you were out of doors and 
near the pavilion at the time of the tragedy. 
What were you doing there? So far as I am con- 
cerned," he said, turning to Monsieur Stangerson, 
** I can only explain the escape of the murderer on 
the assumption of help from these two accomplices. 
As soon as the door was forced open, and while 
you, Monsieur Stangerson, were occupied with 
your unfortunate child, the concierge and his wife 
facilitated the flight of the murderer, who, screen- 
ing himself behind them, reached the window in the 
vestibule, and sprang out of it into the park. The 
concierge closed the window after him and fastened 
the blinds, which certainly could not have closed 
and fastened of themselves. That is the conclu- 
sion I have arrived at. If anyone here has any 
other idea, let him state it." 

Monsieur Stangerson intervened: — 
"What you say was impossible. I do not be- 
lieve either in the guilt or in the connivance of my 
concierges, though I cannot understand what they 
were doing in the park at that late hour of the 
night. I say it was impossible, because Madame 
Bernier held the lamp and did not move from the 
threshold of the room; because I, as soon as the 
door was forced open, threw myself on my knees 
beside my daughter, and no one could have left or 
entered the room by the door, without passing 
over her body and forcing his way by me ! Daddy 
Jacques and the concierge had but to cast a glance 
round the chamber and under the bed, as I had 
done on entering, to see that there was nobody in 
it but my daughter lying on the floor." 
8 113 


" What do you think, Monsieur Darzac? " asked 
the magistrate. 

Monsieur Darzac replied that he had no opinion 
to express. 

Monsieur Dax, the Chief of the S(iret£, who, so 
far, had been listening and examining the room, at 
length deigned to open his lips : — 

" While search is being made for the criminal, 
we had better try to find out the motive for the 
crime; that will advance us a little," he saicL 
Turning towards Monsieur Stangerson, he con* 
tinued, in the even, intelligent tone indicative of a 
strong character, " I understand that Mademoi- 
selle was shortly to have been married? " 

The professor looked sadly at Monsieur Robert 

" With my friend here, whom I should have been 
happy to call my son — with Monsieur Robert 

" Mademoiselle Stangerson is much better and is 
rapidly recovering from her wounds. The mar- 
riage is simply delayed, is it not, Monsieur? " in- 
sisted the Chief of the Surete. 

"I hope so." 

" What ! Is there any doubt about that? " 

Monsieur Stangerson did not answer. Monsieur 
Robert Darzac seemed agitated. I saw that his 
hand trembled as it fingered his watch-chain. Mon- 
sieur Dax coughed, as did Monsieur de Marquet. 
Both were evidently embarrassed. 

"You understand, Monsieur Stangerson," he 
said, " that in an affair so perplexing as this, we 
cannot neglect anything ; we must know all, evea 


the smallest and seemingly most futile thing con- 
cerning the victim — information apparently the 
most insignificant. Why do you doubt that this 
marriage will take place? You expressed a hope; 
but the hope implies a doubt. Why do you 
doubt? " 

Monsieur Stangerson made a visible effort to re- 
cover himself. 

" Yes, Monsieur," he said at length, " You are 
right. It will be best that you should know some- 
thing which, if I concealed it, might appear to be 
of importance; Monsieur Darzac agrees with me 
in this." 

Monsieur Darzac, whose pallor at that moment, 
seemed to me to be altogether abnormal, made a 
sign of assent. I gathered he was unable to speak. 

" I want you to know then," continued Monsieur 
Stangerson, " that my daughter has sworn never to 
leave me, and adheres firmly to her oath, in spite of 
all my prayers and all that I have argued to induce 
her to marry. We have known Monsieur Robert 
Darzac many years. He loves my child ; and I be- 
lieved that she loved him, because she only recently 
consented to this marriage which I desire with all 
my heart. I am an old man, Monsieur, and it was 
a happy hour to me when I knew that, after I had 
gone, she would have at her side, one who loved her 
and who would help her in continuing our common 
labours. I love and esteem Monsieur Darzac both 
for his greatness of heart and for his devotion to 
science. But, two days before the tragedy, for I 
know not what reason, my daughter declared to me 
that she would never marry Monsieur Darzac." 



A dead silence followed Monsieur Stangerson's 
words. It was a moment fraught with suspense* 

" Did Mademoiselle give you any explanation, 
— did she tell you what her motive was? " asked 
Monsieur Dax. 

" She told me she was too old to marry — that , 
she had waited too long. She said she had given 
much thought to the matter and while she had a 
great esteem, even affection, for Monsieur Darzac, 
she felt it would be better if things remained as they 
were. She would be happy, she said, to see the rela- 
tions between ourselves and Monsieur Darzac be- 
come nearer to us, but only on the understanding 
that there would be no more talk of marriage." 

" That is very strange ! " muttered Monsieur 

" Strange ! " repeated Monsieur de Marquet. 

" You '11 certainly not find the motive there, 
Monsieur Dax," Monsieur Stangerson said with a 
cold smile. 

" In any case, the motive was not theft ! " said the 
Chief impatiently. 

" Oh ! we are quite convinced of that ! " cried the 
examining magistrate. 

At that moment the door of the laboratory 
opened and the officer in charge of the gendarmes 
entered and handed a card to the examining magis- 
trate. Monsieur de Marquet read it and uttered 
a half angry exclamation: 

" This is really too much ! " he cried. 

" What is it? " asked the Chief. 

" It *s the card of a young reporter engaged on 
the * Epoque/ a Monsieur Joseph RouletabiHe. It 



has these words written on it: " One of the motives 
of the crime was robbery." 

The Chief smiled. 

M Ah ! — young Rouletabille — I Ve heard of 
him — he is considered rather clever. Let him 
come in." 

Monsieur Joseph Rouletabille was allowed t* 
enter. I had made his acquaintance in the train 
that morning on the way to Epinay-sur-Orge. He 
had introduced himself almost against my wish into 
our compartment. I had better say at once that 
his manners, and the arrogance with which he 
assumed to know what was incomprehensible even 
to us, impressed him unfavourably on my mind. I 
do not like journalists. They are a class of writers 
to be avoided as the pest. They think that every- 
thing is permissible and they respect nothing. 
Grant them the least favour, allow them even to 
approach you, and you never can tell what annoy- 
ance they may give you. This one appears to be 
scarcely twenty years old, and the effrontery with 
which he dared to question us and discuss the 
matter with us made him particularly obnoxious 
to me. Besides, he had a way of expressing him- 
self that left us guessing as to whether he was 
mocking us or not. I know quite well that the 
* Epoque ' is an influential paper with which it is 
well to be on good terms, but the paper ought 
not to allow itself to be represented by sneaking 

Monsieur Joseph Rouletabille entered the lab- 
oratory, bowed to us, and waited for Monsieur de 
Marquet to ask him to explain his presence. 



"You pretend, Monsieur, that you know the 
motive for the crime, and that that motive — in the 
face of all the evidence that has been forthcoming 
— was robbery? " 

" No, Monsieur, I do not pretend that. I do 
not say that robbery was the motive for the crime, 
and I don't believe it was." 

" Then, what is the meaning of this card? " 

" It means that robbery was one of the motives 
for the crime." 

" What leads you to think that? " 

" If you will be good enough to accompany me, 
I will show you." 

The young man asked us to follow him into the 
vestibule, and we did. He led us towards the lava- 
tory and begged Monsieur de Marquet to kneel 
beside him. This lavatory is lit by the glass door, 
and, when the door was open, the light which pen- 
etrated was sufficient to light it perfectly. Mon- 
sieur de Marquet and Monsieur Joseph Rouleta- 
bille knelt down on the threshold, and the young 
man pointed to a spot on the pavement. 

" The stones of the lavatory have not been 
washed by Daddy Jacques for some time," he said ; 
" that can be seen by the layer of dust that covers 
them. Now, notice here, the marks of two large 
footprints and the black ash they left where they 
have been. That ash is nothing else than the char- 
coal dust that covers the path along which you 
must pass through the forest, in order to get di- 
rectly from Epinay to the Glandier. You know 
there is a little village of charcoal-burners at that 
place, who make large quantities of charcoal. 


What the murderer did was to come here at mid- 
day, when there was nobody at the pavilion, and 
attempt his robbery." 

"But what robbery? — Where do you see any 
signs of robbery? What proves to you that a 
robbery has been committed? " we all cried at once. 

" What put me on the trace of it," continued the 
journalist, — 

" Was this? " interrupted Monsieur de Marquet, 
still on his knees. 

" Evidently," said Rouletabille. 

And Monsieur de Marquet explained that there 
were on the dust of the pavement marks of two 
footsteps, as well as the impression, freshly-made, 
of a heavy rectangular parcel, the marks of the 
cord with which it had been fastened being easily 

" You have been here, then, Monsieur Rouleta- 
bille? I thought I had given orders to Daddy 
Jacques, who was left in charge of the pavilion, 
not to allow anybody to enter." 

" Don't scold Daddy Jacques, I came here with 
Monsieur Robert Darzac." 

" Ah ! — Indeed ! " exclaimed Monsieur de Mar- 
quet, disagreeably, casting a side-glance at Mon- 
sieur Darzac, who remained perfectly silent. 

" When I saw the mark of the parcel by the side 
of the footprints, I had no doubt as to the rob- 
bery," replied Monsieur Rouletabille. " The thief 
had not brought a parcel with him ; he had made 
one here — a parcel with the stolen objects, no 
doubt; and he put it in this corner intending to 
take it away when the moment came for him to 



makt his escape. He had also placed his heavy 
boots beside the parcel, — for, see — there are no 
marks of steps leading to the marks left by the 
boots, which were placed side by side. That ac- 
counts for the fact that the murderer left no trace 
of his steps when he fled from The Yellow Room,. 4 
nor any in the laboratory, nor in the vestibule., 
After entering The Yellow Room in his boots, he 
took them off, finding them troublesome, or because 
he wished to make as little noise as possible. The 
marks made by him m going through the vestibule 
and the laboratory were subsequently washed out 
by Daddy Jacques. Having, for some reason or 
other, taken off his boots, the murderer carried 
them in his hand and placed them by the side of 
the parcel he had made, — by that time the rob- 
bery had been accomplished. The man then re- 
turned to The Yellow Room and slipped under the 
bed, where the mark of his body is perfectly visible 
on the floor and even on the mat, which has been 
slightly moved from its place and creased. Frag- 
ments of straw also, recently torn, bear witness to 
the murderer's movements under the bed." 

"Yes, yes, — we know all about that," said 
Monsieur de Marquet. 

" The robber had another motive for returning 
to hide under the bed," continued the astonishing 
boy-journalist. "You might think that he was 
trying to hide himself quickly on seeing, through 
the vestibule window, Monsieur and Mademoiselle 
Stangerson about to enter the pavilion. It would 
have been much easier for him to have climbed up 
to the attic and hidden there, waiting for an oppor- 


tunity to get away, if his purpose had been only 
flight. — No ! No ! — he had to be in The Yellow 

Here the Chief intervened. 

" That '& not at all bad, young man. I compli- 
ment you. If we do not know yet how the mur- 
derer succeeded in getting away, we can at any 
rate see how he came in and committed the robbery. 
But what did he steal? " 

" Something very valuable," replied the young 

At that moment we heard a cry from the lab- 
oratory. We rushed in and found Monsieur 
Stangerson, his eyes haggard, his limbs trembling, 
pointing to a sort of bookcase which he had opened, 
and which, we saw, was empty. At the same in- 
stant he sank into the large armchair that was 
placed before the desk and groaned, the tears roll- 
ing down his cheeks, " I have been robbed again ! 
For God's sake, do not say a word of this to my 
daughter. She would be more pained than I am." 
He heaved a deep sigh and added, in a tone I shall 
never forget : " After all, what does it matter, — 
so long as she lives ! " 

" She will live ! " said Monsieur Darzac, in a 
voice strangely touching. 

" And we will find the stolen articles," said Mon- 
sieur Dax. " But what was in the cabinet? " 

" Twenty years of my life," replied the illustri- 
ous professor sadly, " or rather of our lives — the 
lives of myself and my daughter! Yes, our most 
precious documents, the records of our secret ex- 
periments and our labours of twenty years were in 


that cabinet. It is an irreparable loss to us and, 
I venture to say, to science. All the processes by 
which I had been able to arrive at the precious 
proof of the destructibility of matter were there 
— all. The man who came wished to take all from 
me, — my daughter and my work — my heart and 
my soul." 

And the great scientist wept like a child. 

We stood around him in silence, deeply affected 
by his great distress. Monsieur Darzac pressed 
closely to his side, and tried in vain to restrain 
his tears — a sight which, for the moment, almost 
made me like him, in spite of an instinctive repul- 
sion which his strange demeanour and his inex- 
plicable anxiety had inspired me. 

Monsieur Rouletabille alone, — as if his precious 
time and mission on earth did not permit him to 
dwell in the contemplation on human suffering — 
had, very calmly, stepped up to the empty cabinet 
and, pointing at it, broke the almost solemn silence. 
He entered into explanations, for which there was 
no need, as to why he had been led to believe that 
a robbery had been committed, which included the 
simultaneous discovery he had made in the lava- 
tory, and the empty precious cabinet in the lab- 
oratory. The first thing that had struck him, he 
said, was the unusual form of that piece of fur- 
niture. It was very strongly built of fire-proof 
iron, clearly showing that it was intended for the 
keeping of most valuable objects. Then he noticed 
that the key. had been left in the lock. " One does 
not ordinarily have a safe and leave it open ! " he 
had said to himself. This little key, with its 



brass head and complicated wards, had strongly 
attracted him, — its presence had suggested 

Monsieur de Marquet appeared to be greatly 
perplexed, as if he did not know whether he ought 
to be glad of the new direction given to the in- 
quiry by the young reporter, or sorry that it had 
not been done by himself. In our profession and 
for the general welfare, we have to put up with 
such mortifications and bury selfish feelings. That 
was why Monsieur de Marquet controlled himself 
and joined his compliments with those of Monsieur 
Dax. As for Monsieur Rouletabille, he simply 
shrugged his shoulders and said : " There *s noth- 
ing at all in that ! " I should have liked to box 
his ears, especially when he added : " You will do 
well, Monsieur, to ask Monsieur Stangerson who 
usually kept that key? " 

" My daughter," replied Monsieur Stangerson, 
" she was never without it." 

" Ah ! then that changes the aspect of things 
which no longer corresponds with Monsieur Rou- 
letabille's ideas ! " cried Monsieur de Marquet. " If 
that key never left Mademoiselle Stangerson, the 
murderer must have waited for her in her room 
for the purpose of stealing it; and the robbery 
could not have been committed until after the 
attack had been made on her. But after the attack 
four persons were in the laboratory ! I can't make 
it out!" 

" The robbery," said the reporter, " could only 
have been committed before the attack upon 
Mademoiselle Stangerson in her room. When the 



murderer entered the pavilion he already possessed 
the brass-headed key." 

" That is impossible," said Monsieur Stanger- 
son in a low voice. 

" It is quite possible. Monsieur, as this proves." 

And the young rascal drew a copy of the 
u Epoque " from his pocket, dated the 21st of 
October (I recall the fact that the crime was com- 
mitted on the night between the 24th and 25th), 
and showing us an advertisement, he read : — 

" ' Yesterday a black satin reticule was lost in 
the Grands Magasins de la Louvre. It contained, 
amongst other things, a small key with a brass 
head. A handsome reward will be given to the 
person who has found it. This person must 
write, poste restante, bureau 40, to this address: 
M. A. T. H. S. N.' Do not these letters suggest 
Mademoiselle Stangerson?" continued the reporter. 
" The ' key with a brass head ' — is not this the 
key? I always read advertisements. In my busi- 
ness, as in yours, Monsieur, one should always read 
the * personals/ They are often the keys to in- 
trigues, that are not always brass-headed, but which 
are none the less interesting. This advertisement 
interested me specially ; the woman of the key sur- 
rounded it with a kind of mystery. Evidently she 
) valued the key, since she promised a big reward 
for its restoration! And I thought on these six 
letters: M. A. T. H. S. N. The first four at once 
pointed to a Christian name; evidently I said 
Math is Mathilde. But I could make nothing 
of the two last letters. So I threw the journal 
aside and occupied myself with other matters. 


Four days later, when the evening paper ap- 
peared with enormous head-lines announcing the 
murder of Mademoiselle Stangerson, the letters in 
the advertisement mechanically recurred to me. I 
had forgotten the two last letters, S. N. When I 
saw them again I could not help exclaiming, 
4 Stangerson ! ' I jumped into a cab and rushed 
into the bureau No. 40, asking : * Have you a letter 
addressed to M. A. T. H. S. N.? ' The clerk re- 
plied that he had not. I insisted, begged and en- 
treated him to search. He wanted to know if I were 
playing a joke on him, and then told me that he 
had had a letter with the initials M. A. T. H. S. N., 
but he had given it up three days ago, to a lady 
who came for it. * You come to-day to claim the 
letter, and the day before yesterday another gen- 
tleman claimed it ! I 've had enough of this,' he 
concluded angrily. I tried to question him as to 
the two persons who had already claimed the 
letter; but whether he wished to entrench himself 
behind professional secrecy, — he may have thought 
that he had already said too much, — or whether he 
was disgusted at the joke that had been played on 
him — he would not answer any of my questions." 

Rouletabille paused. We all remained silent. 
Each drew his own conclusions from the strange 
story of the poste restante letter. It seemed, in- 
deed, that we now had a thread by means of which 
we should be able to follow up this extraordinary 

" Then it is almost certain," said Monsieur 
Stangerson, " that my daughter did lose the key, 
and that she did not tell me of it, wishing to spare 



any anxiety, and that she begged whoever had found 
it to write to the poste restante. She evidently 
feared that, by giving our address, inquiries would 
have resulted that would have apprised me of the 
loss of the key. It was quite logical, quite natural 
for her to have taken that course — for I have been 
robbed onoe before." 

" Where was that, and when? " asked the Chief 
of the Surete*. 

" Oh ! many years ago, in America, in Philadel- 
phia. There were stolen from my laboratory the 
drawings of two inventions that might have made 
the fortune of a man. Not only have I never learnt 
who the thief was, but I have never heard even a 
word of the object of the robbery, doubtless 
because, in order to defeat the plans of the per- 
son who had robbed me, I myself brought these 
two inventions before the public, and so rendered 
the robbery of no avail. From that time on I 
have been very careful to shut myself in when 
I am at work. The bars to these windows, the 
lonely situation of this pavilion, this cabinet, 
which I had specially constructed, this special lock, 
this unique key, all are precautions against fears 
inspired by a sad experience." 

" Most interesting ! " remarked Monsieur Dax. 

Monsieur Rouletabille asked about the reticule. 
Neither Monsieur Stangerson nor Daddy Jacques 
had seen it for several days, but a few hours later 
we learned from Mademoiselle Stangerson herself 
that the reticule had either been stolen from her, 
or she had lost it. She further corroborated all 
that had passed just as her father had stated. 



She had gone to the ppste restante and, on the 
£3rd of October, had received a letter which, she 
affirmed, contained nothing but a vulgar pleas- 
antry, which she had immediately burned. 

To return to our examination, or rather to our 
conversation. I must state that the Chief of the 
Sfiret6, having inquired of Monsieur Stangerson 
under what conditions his daughter had gone to 
Paris on the 20th of October, we learned that 
Monsieur Robert Darzac had accompanied her, 
and Darzac had not been again seen at the 
chateau from that time to the day after the crime 
had been committed. The fact that Monsieur Dar- 
zac was with her in the Grands Magasins de la 
Louvre when the reticule disappeared, could not 
pass unnoticed, and, it must be said, strongly 
awakened our interest. 

This conversation between magistrates, accused, 
victim, witnesses and journalist, was coming to a 
close when quite a theatrical sensation — an in- 
cident of a kind displeasing to Monsieur de Mar- 
quet — was produced. The officer of the gen- 
darmes came to announce that Frederic Larsan 
requested to be admitted, — a request that was at 
once complied with. He held in his hand a heavy 
pair of muddy boots, which he threw on the pave- 
ment of the laboratory. 

" Here," he said, " are the boots worn by the 
murderer. Do you recognise them, Daddy 
Jacques ? " 

Daddy Jacques bent over them and, stupefied, 
recognised a pair of old boots which he had, some 
time back, thrown into a corner of his attic. He 



was so taken aback that he could not hide his 

Then pointing to the handkerchief in the old 
man's hand, Frederick Larsan said: — 

" That 's a handkerchief astonishingly like the 
one found in The Yellow Room." 

"I know," said Daddy Jacques, trembling, 
** they are almost alike." 

* And then," continued Frederic Larsan, " the 
old Basque cap also found in The Yellow Room 
might at one time have been worn by Daddy 
Jacques himself. All this, gentlemen, proves, I 
think, that the murderer wished to disguise his 
real personality. He did it in a very clumsy way 
— or, at least, so it appears to us. Don't be 
alarmed, Daddy Jacques; we are quite sure that 
you were not the murderer ; you never left the side 
of Monsieur Stangerson. But if Monsieur Stang- 
erson had not been working that night and had 
gone back to the chateau after parting with his 
daughter, and Daddy Jacques had gone to sleep 
in his attic, no one would have doubted that he was 
the murderer. He owes his safety, therefore, to 
the tragedy having been enacted too soon, — the 
murderer, no doubt, from the silence in the labo- 
ratory, imagined that it was empty, and that the 
moment for action had come. The man who had 
been able to introduce himself here so mysteriously 
and to leave so many evidences against Daddy 
Jacques, was, there can be no doubt, familiar with 
the house. At what hour exactly he entered, 
whether in the afternoon or in the evening, I 
cannot say. One familiar with the proceedings 



and persons of this pavilion could choose his owl 
time for entering The Yellow Room." 

" He could not have entered it if anybody 
had been in the laboratory," said Monsieur de 

"How do we know that?" replied Larsan. 
" There was the dinner in the laboratory, the 
coming and going of the servants in attendance. 
There was a chemical experiment being carried 
on between ten and eleven o'clock, with Monsieur 
Stangerson, his daughter, and Daddy Jacques 
engaged at the furnace in a corner of the high 
chimney. Who can say that the murderer — an 
intimate! — a friend! — did not take advan- 
tage of that moment to slip into The Yellow 
Room, after having taken off his boots in the 

" It is very improbable," said Monsieur Stang- 

" Doubtless — but it is not impossible. I assert 
nothing. As to the escape from the pavilion — 
that *s another thing, the most natural thing in 
the world." 

For a moment Frederic Larsan paused, — a 
moment that appeared to us a very long time. 
The eagerness with which we awaited what he was 
going to tell us may be imagined. 

" I have not been in The Yellow Room," he con- 
tinued, " but I take it for granted that you have 
satisfied yourselves that he could have left the 
room only by way of the door; it is by the door, 
then, that the murderer made his way out. At 
what time? At the moment when it was most easy 
9 129 


for him to do so; at the moment when it became 
most explainable — so completely explainable that 
there can be no other explanation. Let us go over 
the moments which followed after the crime had 
been committed. There was the first moment, when 
Monsieur Stangerson and Daddy Jacques were 
close to the door, ready to bar the way. There 
was the second moment, during which Daddy 
Jacques was absent and Monsieur Stangerson was 
left alone before the door. There was a third 
moment, when Monsieur Stangerson was joined 
by the concierge. There was a fourth moment, 
during which Monsieur Stangerson, the concierge 
and his wife and Daddy Jacques were before the 
dooi . There was a fifth moment, during which the 
door was burst open and The Yellow Room entered. 
The moment at which the flight is explainable is 
the very moment when there was the least number 
of persons before the door. There was one mo- 
ment when there was but one person, — Monsieur 
Stangerson. Unless a complicity of silence on the 
part of Daddy Jacques is admitted — in which 
I do not believe — the door was opened in the 
presence of Monsieur Stangerson alone and the 
man escaped. 

" Here we must admit that Monsieur Stangerson 
had powerful reasons for not arresting, or not 
causing the arrest of the murderer, since he al- 
lowed him to reach the window in the vestibule 
and closed it after him! — That done, Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson, though horribly wounded, had 
still strength enough, and no doubt in obedience 
to the entreaties of her father, to refasten the 


door of her chamber, with both the bolt and the 
lock, before sinking on the floor. We do not know 
who committed the crime ; we do not know of what 
wretch Monsieur and Mademoiselle Stangerson are 
the victims, but there is no doubt that they both 
, know ! The secret must be a terrible one, for the 
i father had not hesitated to leave his daughter to 
die behind the door which she had shut upon her- 
self, — terrible for him to have allowed the assassin 
to escape. For there is no other way in the world 
to explain the murderer's flight from The Yellow 

The silence which followed this dramatic and 
lucid explanation was appalling. We all of us felt 
grieved for the illustrious professor, so driven into 
a corner by the pitiless logic of Fr£d6ric Larsan, 
so forced to confess the whole truth of his martyr- 
dom or to keep silent, and thus make a yet more 
terrible admission. The man himself, a veritable 
statue of sorrow, raised his hand with a gesture 
so solemn that we bowed our heads to it as before 
something sacred. He then pronounced these 
words, in a voice so loud that it seemed to exhaust 
him: — 

u I swear by the head of my suffering child that 
I never for an instant left the door of her chamber 
after hearing her cries for help; that that door 
was not opened while I was alone in the laboratory ; 
and that, finally, when we entered The Yellow 
Room, my three domestics and I, the murderer 
was no longer there ! I swear I do not know the 
murderer ! " 

Must I say it, — in spite of the solemnity of 


Monsieur Stangerson's words, we did not believe 
in his denial? Fr£d£ric Larsan had shown us the 
truth and it was not so easily given up. 

Monsieur de Marquet announced that the con- 
versation was at an end, and as we were about to 
leave the laboratory, Joseph Rouletabille ap- 
proached Monsieur Stangerson, took him by the 
hand with the greatest respect, and I heard him 
say: — 

1 / believe you, Monsieur." 


I here close the citation which I have thought it 
my duty to make from Monsieur Maleine's narra- 
tive. I need not tell the reader that all that passed 
in the laboratory was immediately and faithfully 
reported to me by Rouletabille. 


Frederic Larsans Cane 

IT was not till six o'clock that I left the ch&teau, 
taking with me the article hastily written by 
my friend in the little sitting-room which Monsieur 
Robert Darzac had placed at our disposal. The 
reporter was to sleep at the chateau, taking advan- 
tage of the to me inexplicable hospitality offered 
him by Monsieur Robert Darzac, to whom Mon- 
sieur Stangerson, in that sad time, left the care of 
all his domestic affairs. Nevertheless he insisted 
on accompanying me to the station at Epinay. 
In crossing the park, he said to me : — 

" Fr£d6ric is really very clever and has not be- 
lied his reputation. Do you know how he came to 
find Daddy Jacques's boots? — Near the spot 
where we noticed the traces of the neat boots 
and the disappearance of the rough ones, there 
.was a square hole, freshly made in the moist 
ground, where a stone had evidently been removed. 
Larsan searched for that stone without finding 
it, and at once imagined that it had been used by 
the murderer with which to sink the boots in the 
lake. Fred's calculation was an excellent one, 
as the success of his search proves. That escaped 
me; but my mind was turned in another direction 
by the large number of false indications of his 
track which the murderer left, and by the measure 



of the black foot-marks corresponding with that 
of Daddy Jacques's boots, which I had established 
without his suspecting it, on the floor of The Yel- 
low Room. All which was a proof, in my eyes, 
that the murderer had sought to turn suspicion 
on to the old servant. Up to that point, Larsan 
and I are in accord ; but no further. It is going 
to be a terrible matter ; for I tell you he is work- 
ing on wrong lines, and I — I, must fight him 
with nothing! " 

I was surprised at the profoundly grave accent 
with which my young friend pronounced the last 

He repeated: 

" Yes — terrible ! — terrible ! For it is fighting 
with nothing, when you have only an idea to fight 

At that moment we passed by the back of the 
chateau. Night had come. A window on the first 
floor was partly open. A feeble light came from it 
as well as some sounds which drew our attention. 
We approached until we had reached the side of a 
door that was situated just under the window. 
Rouletabille, in a low tone, made me understand, 
that this was the window of Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son's chamber. The sounds which had attracted 
our attention ceased, then were renewed for a mo- 
ment, and then we heard stifled sobs. We were 
only able to catch these words, which reached us 
distinctly : " My poor Robert ! " — Rouletabille 
whispered in my ear: — 

" If we only knew what was being said in that 
chamber, my inquiry would soon be finished." 


He looked about him. The darkness of the 
evening enveloped us; we could not see much be- 
yond the narrow path bordered by trees, which ran 
behind the chateau. The sobs had ceased. 

" If we can't hear we may at least try to see," 
said Rouletabille. 

' And, making a sign to me to deaden the sound of 
my steps, he led me across the path to the trunk of 
a tall beech tree, the white bole of which was visible 
in the darkness. This tree grew exactly in front 
of the window in which we were so much interested, 
its lower branches being on a level with the first 
floor of the chateau. From the height of those 
branches one might certainly see what was passing 
in Mademoiselle Stangerson's chamber. Evidently 
that was what Rouletabille thought, for, enjoining 
me to remain hidden, he clasped the trunk with his 
vigorous arms and climbed up. I soon lost sight 
of him amid the branches, and then followed a 
deep silence. 

In front of me, the open window remained 
lighted, and I saw no shadow move across it. I 
listened, and presently from above me these words 
reached my ears: — 

"After you!" 

u After you, pray ! " 

Somebody was overhead, speaking, — exchang- 
ing courtesies. What was my astonishment to see 
on the slippery column of the tree two human 
forms appear and quietly slip down to the ground. 
Rouletabille had mounted alone, and had returned 
with another. 

" Good evening, Monsieur Sainclair ! " 


It was Frederic Larsan. The detective had 
already occupied the post of observation when 
my young friend had thought to reach it alone. 
Neither noticed my astonishment. I explained 
that to myself by the fact that they must have 
been witnesses of some tender and despairing scene 
between Mademoiselle Stangerson, lying in hep 
bed, and Monsieur Darzac on his knees by her 
pillow. I guessed that each had drawn different 
conclusions from what they had seen. It was easy 
to see that the scene had strongly impressed Rou- 
letabille in favour of Monsieur Robert Darzac; 
while, to Larsan, it showed nothing but consum- 
mate hypocrisy, acted with finished art by Made- 
moiselle Stangerson's fiance. 

As we reached the park gate, Larsan stopped 

" My cane ! " he cried. " I left it near the 

He left us, saying he would rejoin us presently. 

" Have you noticed Frederic Larsan's cane? " 
asked the young reporter, as soon as we were alone. 
" It is quite a new one, which I have never seen 
him use before. He seems to take great care of 
it — it never leaves him. One would think he was 
afraid it might fall into the hands of strangers. 
I never saw it before to-day. Where did he find it? 
It is n't natural that a man who had never before 
used a walking-stick should, the day after the 
Glandier crime, never move a step without one. 
On the day of our arrival at the chateau, as soon as 
he saw us, he put his watch in his pocket and picked 
up his cane from the ground — a proceeding to 



which I was perhaps wrong not to attach some 

We were now out of the park. Rouletabille had 
dropped into silence. His thoughts were certainly 
still occupied with Frederic Larsan's new cane. 
I had proof of that when, as we came near to 
Epinay, he said: — 

"Fr£d£ric Larsan arrived at the Glandier be- 
fore me ; he began his inquiry before me ; he has 
had time to find out things about which I know 
nothing. Where did he find that cane?" Then 
he added : " It is probable that his suspicion — 
more than that, his reasoning — has led him to 
lay his hand on something tangible. Has this 
cane anything to do with it? Where the deuce 
could he have found it? " 

As I had to wait twenty minutes for the train 
at Epinay, we entered a cabaret. Almost imme- 
diately the door opened and Frederic Larsan mads 
his appearance, brandishing his famous cane. 

" I found it ! " he said laughingly. 

The three of us seated ourselves at a table. 
Rouletabille never took his eyes off the cane; he 
was so absorbed that he did not notice a sign 
Larsan made to a railway employe, a young man 
with a chin decorated by a tiny blond and ill- 
kept beard. On the sign he rose, paid for his 
drink, bowed, and went out. I should not my- 
self have attached any importance to the circum- 
stance, if it had not been recalled to my mind, 
some months later, by the reappearance of the 
man with the beard at one of the most tragic 
moments of this case. I then learned that the 



youth was one of Larsan's assistants and had been 
charged by him to watch the going and coming 
of travellers at the station of Epinay-sur-Orge. 
Larsan neglected nothing in any case on which 
he was engaged. 

I turned my eyes again on Rouletabille. 

"Ah! — Monsieur Fred!" he said, "when did 
you begin to use a walking-stick? I have always 
seen you walking with your hands in your 
pockets ! " 

" It is a present," replied the detective. 

"Recent?" insisted Rouletabille. 

" No, it was given to me in London." 

"Ah, yes, I remember — -you have just come 
from London. May I look at it? " 

"Oh! — certainly!" 

Fred passed the cane to Rouletabille. It was 
a large yellow bamboo with a crutch handle and 
ornamented with a gold ring. 

Rouletabille, after examining it minutely, re- 
turned it to Larsan, with a bantering expression 
on his face, saying: — 

" You were given a French cane in London ! " 

"Possibly," said Fred, imperturbably. 

" Read the mark there, in tiny letters : Cassette, 
6a, Opera." 

" Cannot English people buy canes in Paris? " 

When Rouletabille had seen me into the train, 
he said : — 

" You '11 remember the address? " 

"Yes, — Cassette, 6a, Opera. Rely on mej 
jou shall have word to-morrow morning." 

That evening, on reaching Paris, I saw Mon- 


sieur Cassette, dealer in walking-sticks and um- 
brellas, and wrote to my friend : — 

" A man unmistakably answering to the descrip- 
tion of Monsieur Robert Darzac — same height, 
slightly stooping, putty-coloured overcoat, bowler 
hat — purchased a cane similar to the one in 
which we are interested, on the evening of the 
crime, about eight o'clock. Monsieur Cassette 
had not sold another such cane during the last 
two years. Fred's cane is new. It is quite clear 
that it 's the same cane. Fred did not buy it, 
since he was in London. Like you, I think that 
he found it somewhere near Monsieur Robert 
Darzac. But if, as you suppose, the murderer 
was in The Yellow Room for five, or even six 
hours, and the crime was not committed until 
towards midnight, the purchase of this cane 
proves an incontestable alibi for Darzac." 



u The Presbytery Has Lost Nothing of iJs 
Charm, nor the Garden its Brightness" 

A WEEK after the occurrence of the events I 
have just recounted — on the 2nd of Novem- 
ber, to be exact — I received at my home in Paris 
the following telegraphic message : " Come to the 
Glandier by the earliest train. Bring revolvers. 
Friendly greetings. Rouletabille." 

I have already said, I think, that at that period, 
being a young barrister with but few briefs, I 
frequented the Palais de Justice rather for the 
purpose of familiarising myself with my profes- 
sional duties than for the defence of the widow 
and orphan. I could, therefore, feel no surprise 
at Rouletabille disposing of my time. Moreover, 
he knew how keenly interested I was in his journal- 
istic adventures in general and, above all, in the 
murder at the Glandier '. I had not heard from 
him for a week, nor of the progress made with 
that mysterious case, except by the innumerable 
paragraphs in the newspapers and by the very 
brief notes of Rouletabille in the " Epoque." 
Those notes had divulged the fact that traces 
of human blood had been found on the mutton- 
bone, as well as fresh traces of the blood of 


Mademoiselle Stangerson — the old stains be- 
longed to other crimes, probably dating years 

It may be easily imagined that the crime en- 
gaged the attention of the press throughout the 
world. No crime known had more absorbed the 
minds of people. It appeared to me, however, 
that the judicial inquiry was making but very 
little progress ; and I should have been very glad, 
if, on the receipt of my friend's invitation to re- 
join him at the Glandier, the despatch had not 
contained the words, " Bring revolvers." 

That puzzled me greatly. Rouletabille tele- 
graphing for revolvers meant that there might 
be occasion to use them. Now, I confess it 
without shame, I am not a hero. But here was 
a friend, evidently in danger, calling on me to 
go to his aid. I did not hesitate long ; and after 
assuring myself that the only revolver I possessed 
was properly loaded, I hurried towards the Or- 
leans station. On the way I remembered that 
Rouletabille had asked for two revolvers; I 
therefore entered a gunsmith's shop and bought 
an excellent weapon for my friend. 

I had hoped to find him at the station at 
Epinay; but he was not there. However, a cab 
was waiting for me and I was soon at the Glan- 
dier. Nobody was at the gate, and it was only 
on the threshold of the chateau that I met the 
young man. He saluted me with a friendly ges- 
ture and threw his arms about me, inquiring 
warmly as to the state of my health. 

When we were in the little sitting-room of 


which I have spoken, Rouletabille made me sit 

44 It 's going badly," he said. 

44 What 's going badly? " I asked. 

" Everything." 

He came nearer to me and whispered: 

44 Frederic Larsan is working with might and 
main against Darzac." 

This did not astonish me. I had seen the poor 
show Mademoiselle Stangerson's fiance had made 
at the time of the examination of the footprints. 
However, I immediately asked: — 

44 What about that cane? " 

44 It is still in the hands of Frederic Larsan, 
He never lets go of it." 

44 But does n't it prove the alibi for Monsieur 
Darzac? " 

44 Not at all. Gently questioned by me, Darzac 
denied having, on that evening, or on any other, 
purchased a cane at Cassette's. However," said 
Rouletabille, 44 1 '11 not swear to anything ; Mon- 
sieur Darzac has such strange fits of silence that 
one does not know exactly what to think of what 
he says." 

44 To Frederic Larsan this cane must mean a 
piece of very damaging evidence. But in what 
way? The time when it was bought shows it 
could not have been in the murderer's possession." 

44 The time does n't worry Larsan. He is not 
obliged to adopt my theory which assumes that the 
murderer got into The Yellow Room between five 
and six o'clock. But there's nothing to prevent 
him assuming that the murderer got in between 


ten and eleven o'clock at night? At that hour 
Monsieur and Mademoiselle Stangerson, assisted 
by Daddy Jacques, were engaged in making an 
interesting chemical experiment in the part of the 
laboratory taken up by the furnaces. Larsan 
says, unlikely as that may seem, that the murderer 
may have slipped behind them. He has already 
got the examining magistrate to listen to him. 
When one looks closely into it, the reasoning is 
absurd, seeing that the * intimate ' — if there is 
one — must have known that the professor would 
shortly leave the pavilion, and that the 4 friend ' 
had only to put off operating till after the pro- 
fessor's departure. Why should he have risked 
crossing the laboratory while the professor was 
in it? And then, when he had got into The Yellow 
Room? — 

" There are many points to be cleared up 
before Larsan's theory can be admitted. I sha'n't 
waste my time over it, for my theory won't 
allow me to occupy myself with mere imagination. 
Only, as I am obliged for the moment to keep 
silent, and Larsan sometimes talks, he may finish 
by coming out openly against Monsieur Darzac, 
— if I 'm not there," added the young reporter 
proudly. "For there are surface evidences against 
Darzac, much more convincing than the cane, which 
remains incomprehensible to me, all the more so 
as Larsan does not in the least hesitate to let Dar- 
zac see him with it ! — I understand many things 
in Larsan's theory, but I can't make anything of 
that cane." 

u Is he still at the chateau? " 


it ' 

Yes; he hardly ever quits it! — He sleeps 
there, as I do, at the request of Monsieur Stanger- 
son, who has done for him what Monsieur Robert 
Darzac has done for me. In spite of the accusa- 
tion made by Larsan that Monsieur Stangerson 
knows who the murderer is he yet affords him 
every facility for arriving at the truth, — just a& 
Darzac is doing for me." 

" But you are convinced of Darzac's inno- 
cence? " 

" At one time I did believe in the possibility of 
his guilt. That was when we arrived here for the 
first time. The time has come for me to tell you 
what has passed between Monsieur Darzac and 

Here Rouletabille interrupted himself and asked 
me if I had brought the revolvers. I showed 
him them. Having examined both, he pro- 
nounced them excellent, and handed them back to 

" Shall we have any use for them? " I asked. 

" No doubt ; this evening. We shall pass the 
night here — if that won't tire you? " 

"On the contrary," I said with an expression 
that made Rouletabille laugh. 

" No, no," he said, " this is no time for laugh- 
ing. You remember the phrase which was the 
'Open sesame' of this chateau full of mystery?" 

" Yes," I said, u perfectly, — 4 The presbytery 
has lost nothing of its charm, nor the garden its 
brightness.' It was the phrase which you found 
on the half-burned piece of paper amongst the 
ashes in the laboratory." 


" Yes ; at the bottom of the paper, where the 
flame had not reached, was this date: 23rd of 
October. Remember this date, it is highly impor- 
tant. I am now going to tell you about that curi- 
ous phrase. On the evening before the crime, that 
is to say, on the 23rd, Monsieur and Mademoiselle 
Stangerson were at a reception at the ElysSe. I 
know that, because I was there on duty, having to 
interview one of the savants of the Academy of 
Philadelphia, who was being feted there. I had 
never before seen either Monsieur or Mademoiselle 
Stangerson. I was seated in the room which pre* 
cedes the Salon des Ambassadeurs, and, tired of 
being jostled by so many noble personages, I had 
fallen into a vague reverie, when I scented near me 
the perfume of the lady in black. 

" Do you ask me what is the ' perfume of the 
lady in black'? It must suffice you to know 
that it is a perfume of which I am very fond, 
because it was that of a lady who had been 
very kind to me in my childhood, — a lady whom 
I had always seen dressed in black. The lady 
who, that evening, was scented with the per- 
fume of the lady in black, was dressed in white. 
She was wonderfully beautiful. • I could not help 
rising and following her. An old man gave her 
his arm, and, as they passed, I heard voices say: 
•Professor Stangerson and his daughter.' It 
was in that way I learned who it was I was 

"They met Monsieur Robert Darzac, whom I 
knew by sight. Professor Stangerson, accosted 
by Mr. Arthur William Ranee, one of the Ameri- 
10 145 


can savants, seated himself in the great gallery, 
and Monsieur Robert Darzac led Mademoiselle 
Stangerson into the conservatory. I followed. 
The weather was very mild that evening ; the gar- 
den doors were open. Mademoiselle Stangerson 
threw a fichu shawl over her shoulders and I plainly 
saw that it was she who was begging Monsieur 
Darzac to go with her into the garden. I con- 
tinued to follow, interested by the agitation plainly 
exhibited by the bearing of Monsieur Darzac, 
They slowly passed along the wall abutting on the 
Avenue Marigny. I took the central alley, walking 
parallel with them, and then crossed over for the 
purpose of getting nearer to them. The night was 
dark, and the grass deadened the sound of my steps. 
They had stopped under the vacillating light of a 
gas jet and appeared to be both bending over a 
paper held by Mademoiselle Stangerson, reading 
something which deeply interested them. I stopped 
in the darkness and silence. 

" Neither of them saw me, and I distinctly heard 
Mademoiselle Stangerson repeat, as she was re- 
folding the paper : * The presbytery has lost noth- 
ing of its charm, nor the garden its brightness ! ' 
— It was said in a tone at once mocking and des- 
pairing, and was followed by a burst of such nerv- 
ous laughter that I think her words will never cease 
to sound in my ears. But another phrase was 
uttered by Monsieur Robert Darzac : ' Must I com- 
mit a crime, then, to win you? ' He was in an ex- 
traordinarily agitated state. He took the hand of 
Mademoiselle Stangerson and held it for a long 
time to his lips, and I thought, from the movement 


of his shoulders, that he was crying. Then they 
went away. 

"When I returned to the great gallery " con- 
tinued Rouletabille, " I saw no more of Monsieur 
Robert Darzac, and I was not to see him again until 
after the tragedy at the Glandier. Mademoiselle 
was near Mr. Ranee, who was talking with much 
animation, his eyes, during the conversation, glow- 
ing with a singular brightness. Mademoiselle 
Stangerson, I thought, was not even listening to 
what he was saying, her face expressing perfect 
indifference. His face was the red face of a 
drunkard. When Monsieur and Mademoiselle 
Stangerson left, he went to the bar and re- 
mained there. I joined him, and rendered him 
some little service in the midst of the pressing 
crowd. He thanked me and told me he was return- 
ing to America three days later, that is to say, on 
the 26th (the day after the crime). I talked with 
him about Philadelphia; he told me he had lived 
there for five-and-twenty years, and that it was 
there he had met the illustrious Professor Stanger- 
son and his daughter. He drank a great deal of 
champagne, and when I left him he was very nearly 

" Such were my experiences on that evening, and 
I leave you to imagine what effect the news of the 
attempted murder of Mademoiselle Stangerson pro- 
duced on me, — with what force those words pro- 
nounced by Monsieur Robert Darzac, * Must I 
commit a crime, then, to win you?' recurred to 
me. It was not this phrase, however, that I re- 
peated to him, when we met here at Glandier. The 



sentence of the presbytery and the bright garden 
sufficed to open the gate of the chateau. If you 
ask me if I believe now that Monsieur Darzac is 
the murderer, I must say I do not. I do not think 
I ever quite thought that. At the time I could not 
really think seriously of anything. I had so little 
evidence to go on. But I needed to have at once 
the proof that he had not been wounded in the 

" When we were alone together, I told him how 
I had chanced to overhear a part of his conversa- 
tion with Mademoiselle Stangerson in the garden 
of the Elysee; and when I repeated to him the 
words, 4 Must I commit a crime, then, to win you? * 
he was greatly troubled, though much less so than 
he had been by hearing me repeat the phrase about 
the presbytery. What threw him into a state of 
real consternation was to learn from me that the 
day on which he had gone to meet Mademoiselle 
Stangerson at the Elysee, was the very day on 
which she had gone to the Post Office for the 
letter. It was that letter, perhaps, which ended 
with the words : ' The presbytery has lost nothing 
of its charm, nor the garden its brightness.' My 
surmise was confirmed by my finding, if you re- 
member, in the ashes of the laboratory, the frag- 
ment of paper dated October the 23rd. The letter 
had been written and withdrawn from the Post 
Office on the same day. 

" There can be no doubt that, on returning from 
the Elysee that night, Mademoiselle Stangerson 
had tried to destroy that compromising paper. 
It was in vain that Monsieur Darzac denied that 



that letter had anything whatever to do with the 
crime. I told him that in an affair so filled with 
mystery as this, he had no right to hide this 
letter; that I was persuaded it was of consid- 
erable importance; that the desperate tone in 
which Mademoiselle Stangerson had pronounced 
/the prophetic phrase, — that his own tears, and the 
threat of a crime which he had professed after 
the letter was read — all these facts tended to 
leave no room for me to doubt. Monsieur Darzac 
became more and more agitated, and I determined 
to take advantage of the effect I had produced on 
him. * You were on the point of being married, 
Monsieur,' I said negligently and without looking 
at him, * and suddenly your marriage becomes im- 
possible because of the writer of that letter; be- 
cause as soon as his letter was read, you spoke of 
the necessity for a crime to win Mademoiselle 
Stangerson. Therefore there is someone between 
you and her — someone who is preventing your 
marriage with her — someone who has attempted to 
kill her, so that she should not be able to marry ! ' 
And I concluded with these words : ' Now, mon- 
sieur, you have only to tell me in confidence the 
name of the murderer ! * — The words I had uttered 
must have struck him ominously, for when I turned 
my eyes on him, I saw that his face was haggard, 
the perspiration standing on his forehead, and 
terror showing in his eyes. 

" * Monsieur,' he said to me, ' I am going to ask 
of you something which may appear insane, but 
in exchange for which I place my life in your 
hands. You must not tell the magistrates of what 



you saw and heard in the garden of the Elysee, — 
neither to them nor to anybody. I swear to you, 
that I am innocent, and I know, I feel, that you 
believe me; but I would rather be taken for the 
guilty man than see justice go astray on that 
phrase, " The presbytery has lost nothing of 
its charm, nor the garden its brightness." The 
judges must know nothing about that phrase. 
All this matter is in your hands. Monsieur, 
I leave it there; but forget the evening at 
the Elysee. A hundred other roads are open to 
you in your search for the criminal. I will open 
them for you myself. I will help you. Will you 
take up your quarters here? — You may remain 
here to do as you please. — Eat — sleep here — 
watch my actions — the actions of all here. You 
shall be master of the Glandier, Monsieur; but 
forget the evening at the Elysee.' " 

Rouletabille here paused to take breath. I now 
understood what had appeared so unexplainable in 
the demeanour of Monsieur Robert Darzac towards 
my friend, and the facility with which the young 
reporter had been able to instal himself on the 
scene of the crime. My curiosity could not fail 
to be excited by all I had heard. I asked Rouleta- 
bille to satisfy it still further. What had happened 
at the Glandier during the past week? — Had he 
not told me that there were surface indications 
against Monsieur Darzac much more terrible than 
that of the cane found by Larsan? 

" Everything seems to be pointing against him," 
replied my friend, " and the situation is becoming 
exceedingly grave. Monsieur Darzac appears not 



to mind it much; but in that he is wrong. I 
was interested only in the health of Mademoiselle 
Stangerson, which was daily improving, when 
something occurred that is even more mysterious 
than — than the mystery of The Yellow Room ! " 

" Impossible ! " I cried, " What could be more 
mysterious than that? " 

" Let us first go back to Monsieur Robert Dar- 
zac," said Rouletabille, calming me. " I have said 
that everything seems to be pointing against him. 
The marks of the neat boots found by Frederic 
Larsan appear to be really the footprints of Made- 
moiselle Stangerson's fiance. The marks made by 
the bicycle may have been made by his bicycle. He 
had usually left it at the chateau ; why did he take 
it to Paris on that particular occasion? Was it 
because he was not going to return again to the 
chateau? Was it because, owing to the breaking 
off of his marriage, his relations with the Stanger- 
sons were to cease? All who are interested in the 
matter affirm that those relations were to continue 

" Frederic Larsan, however, believes that all in- 
tercourse was at an end. From the day when Mon- 
sieur Darzac accompanied Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son to the Grands Magasins de la Louvre until the 
day after the crime, he had not been at the Glan- 
dier. Remember that Mademoiselle Stangerson lost 
her reticule containing the key with the brass head 
while she was in his company. From that day to 
the evening at the Elysee, the Sorbonne professor 
and Mademoiselle Stangerson did not see one an- 
other; but they may have written to each other. 



Mademoiselle Stangerson went to the Post Office 
to get a letter, which Larsan says was written 
by Robert Darzac; for knowing nothing of what 
had passed at the Elys£e, Larsan believes that 
it was Monsieur Darzac himself who stole the 
reticule with the key, with the design of forcing 
her consent, by getting possession of the precious 
papers of her father — papers which he would have 
restored to him on condition that the marriage 
engagement was to be fulfilled. 

" All that would have been a very doubtful and 
almost absurd hypothesis, as Larsan admitted to 
me, but for another and much graver circumstance. 
In the first place here is something which I have 
not been able to explain — Monsieur Darzac had 
himself, on the 24th, gone to the Post Office to 
ask for the letter which Mademoiselle had called 
for and received on the previous evening. The de- 
scription of the man who made application tallies 
in every respect with the appearance of Monsieur 
Darzac, who, in answer to the questions put to 
him by the examining magistrate, denies that he 
went to the Post Office. Now even admitting that 
the letter was written by him — which I do not be- 
lieve — he knew that Mademoiselle Stangerson had 
received it, since he had seen it in her hands in the 
garden at the Elysee. It could not have been he, 
then, who had gone to the Post Office, the day after 
the 24th, to ask for a letter which he knew was 
no longer there. 

" To me it appears clear that somebody, strongly 
resembling him, stole Mademoiselle Stangerson's 
reticule and in that letter, had demanded of hex 


something which she had not sent him. He must 
have been surprised at the failure of his demand, 
hence his application at the Post Office, to learn 
whether his letter had been delivered to the person 
to whom it had been addressed. Finding that it 
had been claimed, he had become furious. What 
had he demanded? Nobody but Mademoiselle! 
Stangerson knows. Then, on the day following, 
it is reported that she had been murdered during 
the night, and, the next day, I discovered that the 
Professor had, at the same time, been robbed by 
means of the key referred to in the poste restante 
letter. It would seem, then, that the man who went 
to the Post Office to inquire for the letter must 
have been the murderer. All these arguments Lar- 
san applies as against Monsieur Darzac. You ' 
may be sure that the examining magistrate, Larsan, 
and myself, have done our best to get from the 
Post Office precise details relative to the singular 
personage who applied there on the 24th of Octo- 
ber. But nothing has been iearned. We don't 
know where he came from — or where he went. 
Beyond the description which makes him resemble 
Monsieur Darzac, we know nothing. 

" I have announced in the leading journals 
that a handsome reward will be given to a driver 
of any public conveyance who drove a fare to No. 
40, Post Office, about ten o'clock on the morning 
of the 24th of October. Information to be ad- 
dressed to * M. R.,' at the office of the * Epoque * ; 
but no answer has resulted. The man may have 
walked; but, as he was most likely in a hurry, 
there was a chance that he might have gone in a 


cab. Who, I keep asking myself night and day, is 
the man who so strongly resembles Monsieur Rob- 
ert Darzac, and who is also known to have bought 
the cane which has fallen into Larsan's hands. 

" The most serious fact is that Monsieur Darzac 
was, at the very same time that his double pre- 
sented himself at the Post Office, down for a lec- 
ture at the Sorbonne. He had not delivered that 
lecture, and one of his friends took his place. 
When I questioned him as to how he had employed 
the time, he told me that he had gone for a stroll 
in the Bois de Boulogne. What do you think of 
a professor who, instead of giving his lecture, ob- 
tains a substitute to go for a stroll in the Bois 
de Boulogne? When Frederic Larsan asked 
him for information on this point, he quietly 
replied that it was no business of his how he 
spent his time in Paris. On which Fred swore 
aloud that he would find out, without anybody's 

" All this seems to fit in with Fred's hypothesis, 
namely, that Monsieur Stangerson allowed the 
murderer to escape in order to avoid a scandal. 
The hypothesis is further substantiated by the fact 
that Darzac was in The Yellow Room and was per- 
mitted to get away. That hypothesis I believe to be 
a false one. — Larsan is being misled by it, though 
that would not displease me, did it not affect an 
innocent person. Now does that hypothesis really 
mislead Frederic Larsan ? That is the question — 
that is the question." 

"Perhaps he is right," I cried, interrupting 
Rouletabille. " Are you sure that Monsieur Dar- 


zac is innocent? — It seems to me that these are 
extraordinary coincidences — " 

" Coincidences," replied my friend, " are the 
worst enemies to truth." 

" What does the examining magistrate think now 
of the matter? " 

" Monsieur de Marquet hesitates to accuse Mon- 
sieur Darzac, in the absence of absolute proofs. 
Not only would he have public opinion wholly 
against him, to say nothing of the Sorbonne, but 
Monsieur and Mademoiselle Stangerson. She 
adores Monsieur Robert Darzac. Indistinctly as 
she saw the murderer, it would be hard to make 
the public believe that she could not have recog- 
nised him, if Darzac had been the criminal. No 
doubt The Yellow Room was very dimly lit; but 
a night-light, however small, gives some light. 
Here, my boy, is how things stood when, three 
days, or rather three nights ago, an extraordi- 
narily strange incident occurred." 



"I Expect the Assassin this Evening" 

n T MUST take you," said Rouletabille, " so as 
X to enable you to understand, to the various 
scenes. I myself believe that I have discovered 
what everybody else is searching for, namely 4 
how the murderer escaped from The Yellow 
Room, without any accomplice, and without Mad- 
emoiselle Stangerson having had anything to 
do with it. But so long as I am not sure of the 
real murderer, I cannot state the theory on which 
I am working. I can only say that I believe it to 
be correct and, in any case, a quite natural and 
simple one. As to what happened in this place 
three nights ago, I must say it kept me wondering 
for a whole day and a night. It passes all belief. 
The theory I have formed from the incident is so 
absurd that I would rather matters remained as 
yet unexplained." 

Saying which the young reporter invited me to 
go and make the tour of the chateau with him. 
The only sound to be heard was the crunching of 
the dead leaves beneath our feet. The silence was 
so intense that one might have thought the chateau 
had been abandoned. The old stones, the stagnant 
water of the ditch surrounding the donjon, the 
bleak ground strewn with the dead leaves, the dark, 
skeleton-like outlines of the trees, all contributed 


to give to the desolate place, now filled with its 
awful mystery, an aspect the most funereal. As 
we passed round the donjon, we met the Green 
Man, the forest-keeper, who did not greet us, but 
walked by as if we had not existed. He was look- 
ing just as I had formerly seen him through the 
window of the Donjon Inn. He had still his fowl- 
ing-piece slung at his back, his pipe was in his 
mouth, and his eye-glasses on his nose. 

"An odd kind of fish!" Rouletabille said to 
me, in a low tone. 

" Have you spoken to him ? " I asked. 

" Yes, but I could get nothing out of him. His 
only answers are grunts and shrugs of the shoul- 
ders. He generally lives on the first floor of the 
donjon, — a big room that once served for an 
oratory. He lives like a bear, never goes out with- 
out his gun, and is only pleasant with the girls. 
The women, for twelve miles round, are all setting 
their caps at him. For the present, he is paying 
attention to Madame Mathieu, whose husband 
is keeping a lynx eye upon her in consequence." 

After passing the donjon, which is situated at 
the extreme end of the left wing, we went to the 
back of the chateau. Rouletabille, pointing to a 
window which I recognised as the only one belong- 
ing to Mademoiselle Stangerson's apartment, said 
*o me : — 

" If you had been here, two nights ago, you 
would have seen your humble servant at the top of 
a ladder, about to enter the chateau by that 

As I expressed some surprise at this piece of 


nocturnal gymnastics, he begged me to notice care- 
fully the exterior disposition of the chateau. We 
then went back into the building. 

" I must now show you the first floor of the 
chateau, where I am living," said my friend. 

To enable the reader the better to understand 
the disposition of these parts of the dwelling, I 
annex a plan of the first floor of the right wing, 
drawn by Rouletabille the day after the extraor- 
dinary phenomenon occurred, the details of which 
I am about to relate. 

1. Position where Rouletabille placed Fr&Jera 

8. Position where Rouletabille placed Daddy 

8. Position where Rouletabille placed Monsieur 

4. Window by which Rouletabille entered. 


5. Window found open by Rouletabille when 
he left the room. He re-closed it. All the other 
doors and windows were shut. 

6. Terrace surmounting a projecting room on 
the ground-floor. 

Rouletabille motioned me to follow, him up a) 
magnificent flight of stairs ending in a landing on 
the first floor. From this landing one could pass 
to the right or left wing of the chateau by a gal- 
lery opening from it. This gallery, high and 
wide, extended along the whole length of the 
building and was lit from the front of the chateau 
facing the north. The rooms, the windows of 
which looked to the south, opened out of the gal- 
lery. Professor Stangerson inhabited the left wing 
of the building. Mademoiselle Stangerson had her 
apartment in the right wing. 

We entered the gallery to the right. A narrow 
carpet, laid on the waxed oaken floor, which shone 
like glass, deadened the sound of our footsteps. 
Rouletabille asked me, in a low tone, to walk care- 
fully, as we were passing the door of Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson's apartment. This consisted of 
a bed-room, an ante-room, a small bath-room, a 
boudoir, and a drawing-room. One could pass 
from one to another of these rooms without having 
to go by way of the gallery. The gallery con- 
tinued straight to the western end of the building, 
where it was lit by a high window (window % on 
the plan). At about two-thirds of its length this 
gallery, at a right angle, joined another gallery 
following the course of the right wing. 

The better to follow this narrative, we shall call 


the gallery leading from the stairs to the eastern 
window, the " right " gallery and the gallery quit- 
ting it at a right angle, the " off-turning " gallery 
(winding gallery in the plan). It was at the 
meeting point of the two galleries that Rouleta- 
bille had his chamber, adjoining that of Frederic 
Larsan, the door of each opening on to the " off- 
turning" gallery, while the doors of Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson's apartment opened into the 
"right" gallery. (See the Plan.) 

Rouletabille opened the door of his room and 
after we had passed in, carefully drew the bolt. I 
had not had time to glance round the place in which 
he had been installed, when he uttered a cry of sur- 
prise and pointed to a pair of eye-glasses on a 

" What are these doing here? " he asked. 

I should have been puzzled to answer him. 

" I wonder," he said, " I wonder if this is what 
I have been searching for. I wonder if these are 
the eye-glasses from the presbytery ! " 

He seized them eagerly, his fingers caressing the 
glass. Then looking at me, with an expression 
of terror on his face, he murmured, " Oh ! — 

He repeated the exclamation again and again, 
as if his thoughts had suddenly turned his brain. 

He rose and, putting his hand on my shoulder, 
laughed like one demented as he said: 

" Those glasses will drive me silly ! Mathe- 
matically speaking the thing is possible; but hu- 
manly speaking it is impossible — or afterwards — * 
or afterwards — " 



Two light knocks struck the door. Rouleta- 
bille opened it. A figure entered. I recognised thf 
concierge, whom I had seen when she was being 
taken to the pavilion for examination. I was 
surprised, thinking she was still under lock and 
key. This woman said in a very low tone : — 

" In the grove of the parquet." 

Rouletabille replied : " Thanks." — The woman 
then left. He again turned to me, his look hag- 
gard, after having carefully refastened the door, 
muttering some incomprehensible phrases. 

" If the thing is mathematically possible, why 
should it not be humanly ! — And if it is humanly 
possible, the matter is simply awful." 

I interrupted him in his soliloquy : — 

" Have they set the concierges at liberty, 
then? " I asked. 

" Yes," he replied, " I had them liberated. 
I needed people I could trust. The woman is 
thoroughly devoted to me, and her husband would 
lay down his life for me." 

" Oho ! " I said, " when will he have occasion to 

" This evening, — for this evening I expect the 

" You expect the murderer this evening? Then 
you know him? " 

" I shall know him ; but I should be mad to 
affirm, categorically, at this moment that I do 
know him. The mathematical idea I have of the 
murderer gives results so frightful, so monstrous, 
that I hope it is still possible that I am mistaken* 
I hope so, with all my heart! n 
11 161 


" Five minutes ago, you did not know the mur- 
derer; how can you say that you expect him this 
evening? " 

" Because I know that he must come." 

Rouletabille very slowly filled his pipe and lit 
it. That meant an interesting story. At that 
moment we heard some one walking in the gallery 
and passing before our door. Rouletabille listened. 
The sound of the footstep died away in the 

" Is Frederic Larsan in his room ? " I asked, 
pointing to the partition. 

" No," my friend answered. " He went to Paris 
this morning, — still on the scent of Darzac, who 
also left for Paris. That matter will turn out 
badly. I expect that Monsieur Darzac will be 
arrested in the course of the next week. The worst 
of it is that everything seems to be in league 
against him, — circumstances, things, people. Not 
an hour passes without bringing some new evidence 
against him. The examining magistrate is over- 
whelmed by it — and blind." 

" Frederic Larsan, however, is not a novice," I 

" I thought so," said Rouletabille, with a 
slightly contemptuous turn of his lips, " I fan- 
cied he was a much abler man. I had, indeed, a 
great admiration for him, before I got to know 
his method of working. It *s deplorable. He owes 
his reputation solely to his ability; but he lacks 
reasoning power, — the mathematics of his ideas 
are very poor." 

I looked closely at Rouletabille and could not 


help smiling, on hearing this boy of eighteen talk- 
ing of a man who had proved to the world that he 
was the finest police sleuth-hound in Europe. 

" You smile," he said ; " you are wrong ! I 
swear I will outwit him — and in a striking way I 
But I must make haste about it, for he has an 
Jenormous start of me — given him by Monsieur 
Robert Darzac, who is this evening going to in- 
crease it still more. Think of it ! — every time the 
murderer comes to the chateau, Monsieur Darzac, 
by a strange fatality, absents himself and refuses 
to give any account of how he employs his time." 

" Every time the assassin comes to the chateau ! " 
I cried. " Has he returned then — ? " 

"Yes, during that famous night when the 
strange phenomenon occurred." 

I was now going to learn about the astonishing 
phenomenon to which Rouletabille had made allu- 
sion half an hour earlier without giving me any 
explanation of it. But I had learned never to 
press Rouletabille in his narratives. He spoke when 
the fancy took him and when he judged it to be 
right. He was less concerned about my curiosity 
than he was for making a complete summing up 
for himself of any important matter in which he 
was interested. 

1 At last, in short rapid phrases, he acquainted 
me with things which plunged me into a state 
bordering on complete bewilderment. Indeed, the 
results of that still unknown science known as hyp* 
notism, for example, were not more inexplicable 
than the disappearance of the matter of the mur- 
derer at the moment when four persons were within 


touch of him. I speak of hypnotism as I would 
of electricity, for of the nature of both we are 
ignorant and we know little of their laws. I cite 
these examples because, at the time, the case ap- 
peared to me to be only explicable by the inex- 
plicable, — that is to say, by an event outside of 
known natural laws. And yet, if I had had Roulet- 
abille's brain, I should, like him, have had a pre- 
sentiment of the natural explanation; for the 
most curious thing about all the mysteries of the 
Glandier case was the natural manner in which he 
explained them. 

I have among the papers that were sent me by 
the young man, after the affair was over, a note- 
book of his, in which a complete account is given 
of the phenomenon of the disappearance of the 
" matter " of the assassin, and the thoughts to 
which it gave rise in the mind of my young friend. 
It is preferable, I think, to give the reader this 
account, rather than continue to reproduce my 
conversation with Rouletabille ; for I should be 
afraid, in a history of this nature, to add a word 
that was not in accordance with the strictest 



The Trap 

(Extract from the Note-Book of Joseph Roulbtabillb) 

"T AST night — the night between the 29th 
■1— J and 80th of October — " wrote Joseph 
Rouletabille, " I woke up towards one o'clock in 
the morning. Was it sleeplessness, or noise with- 
out? — The cry of the Bete du Bon Dieu rang 
out with sinister loudness from the end of the park. 
I rose and opened the window. Cold wind and 
rain; opaque darkness; silence. I reclosed my 
window. Again the sound of the cat's weird cry 
in the distance. I partly dressed in haste. The 
weather was too bad for even a cat to be turned 
out in it. What did it mean, then — that imitating 
of the mewing of Mother Angenoux* cat so near 
the chateau? I seized a good-sized stick, the only 
weapon I had, and, without making any noise, 
opened my door. 

" The gallery into which I went was well lit by 
a lamp with a reflector. I felt a keen current of 
air and, on turning, found the window open, at the 
extreme end of the gallery, which I call the * off- 
turning' gallery, to distinguish it from the 
* right 9 gallery, on to which the apartment of 
Mademoiselle Stangerson opened. These two gal- 
leries cross each other at right angles. Who had 



left that window open? Or, who had come to open 
it? I went to the window and leaned out. Five 
feet below me there was a sort of terrace over the 
semi-circular projection of a room on the ground- 
floor. One could, if one wanted, jump from the 
window on to the terrace, and allow oneself to 
drop from it into the court of the chateau. Who-| 
ever had entered by this road had, evidently, not 
had a key to the vestibule-door. But why should 
I be thinking of my previous night's attempt with 
the ladder? — Because of the open window — left 
open, perhaps, by the negligence of a servant? I 
reclosed it, smiling at the ease with which I built 
a drama on the mere suggestion of an open window. 
" Again the cry of the Bete du Bon Dieu! — and 
then silence. The rain ceased to beat on the win- 
dow. All in the chateau slept. I walked with in- 
finite precaution on the carpet of the gallery. 
On reaching the corner of the * right ' gallery, 
I peered round it cautiously. There was another 
lamp there with a reflector which quite lit up the 
several objects in it, — three chairs and some pic- 
tures hanging on the wall. What was I doing 
there? Perfect silence reigned throughout. 
Everything was sunk in repose. What was the 
instinct that urged me towards Mademoiselle 
Stangerson's chamber? Why did a voice within 
me cry : * Go on, to the chamber of Mademoiselle 
Stangerson ! * I cast my eyes down upon the car- 
pet on which I was treading and saw that my steps 
were being directed towards Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son's chamber by the marks of steps that had 
already been made there. Yes, on the carpet were 


traces of footsteps stained with mud leading to 
the chamber of Mademoiselle Stangerson. Hor- 
ror ! Horror ! — I recognised in those footprints 
the impression of the neat boots of the mur- 
derer! He had come, then, from without in this 
wretched night. If you could descend from the 
gallery by way of the window, by means of the ter- 
race, then you could get into the chateau by the 
same means. 

" The murderer was still in the chateau, for here 
were marks as of returning footsteps. He had 
entered by the open window at the extremity of 
the * off-turning ' gallery ; he had passed Frederic 
Larsan's door and mine, had turned to the right, 
and had entered Mademoiselle Stangerson's room. 
I am before the door of her ante-room — it is 
open. I push it, without making the least 
noise. Under the door of the room itself I see a 
streak of light. I listen — no sound — not even 
of breathing! Ah! — if I only knew what 
was passing in the silence that is behind that 
door! I find the door locked and the key turned 
on the inner side. And the murderer is there, 
perhaps. He must be there! Will he escape this 
time? — All depends on me! — I must be calm, 
and above all, I must make no false steps. I must 
see into that room. I can enter it by Made- 
moiselle Stangerson's drawing-room; but, to do 
that I should have to cross her boudoir ; and while 
I am there, the murderer may escape by the gal- 
lery door — the door in front of which I am now 

" I am sure that no other crime is being com- 


mitted, on this night ; for there is complete silence 
in the boudoir, where two nurses are taking care 
of Mademoiselle Stangerson until she is restored 
to health. 

" As I am almost sure that the murderer is there, 
why do I not at once give the alarm? The mur- 
derer may, perhaps, escape; but, perhaps, I 
may be able to save Mademoiselle Stangerson's 
life. Suppose the murderer on this occasion i? 
not here to murder? The door has been 
opened to allow him to enter; by whom? — And it 
has been refastened — by whom? — Mademoiselle 
Stangerson shuts herself up in her apartment with 
her nurses every night. Who turned the key of 
that chamber to allow the murderer to enter? — 
The nurses, — two faithful domestics? The old 
chambermaid, Sylvia? It is very improbable. Be- 
sides, they slept in the boudoir, and Mademoiselle 
Stangerson, very nervous and careful, Monsieur 
Robert Darzac told me, sees to her own safety 
since she has been well enough to move about in 
her room, which I have not yet seen her leave. This 
nervousness and sudden care on her part, which 
had struck Monsieur Darzac, had given me, also, 
food for thought. At the time of the crime in The 
Yellow Room, there can be no doubt that she 
expected the murderer. Was he expected this 
night? — Was it she herself who had opened 
her door to him? Had she some reason for 
doing so? was she obliged to do it? — Was it a 
meeting for purposes of crime? — Certainly it was 
not a lover's meeting, for I believe Mademoiselle 
Stangerson adores Monsieur Darzac. 



u All these reflections ran through my brain like 
a flash of lightning. What would I not give to 

u It is possible that there was some reason for 
the awful silence. My intervention might do more 
harm than good. How could I tell? How could 
I know I might not any moment cause another 
crime? If I could only see and know, without 
breaking that silence! 

" I left the ante-room and descended the central 
stairs to the vestibule and, as silently as possible, 
made my way to the little room on the ground- 
floor where Daddy Jacques, had been sleeping since 
the attack made at the pavilion. 

" I found him dressed, his eyes wide open, al- 
most haggard. He did not seem surprised to see 
me. He told me that he had got up because he 
had heard the cry of the Bete du bon Dieu, and 
because he had heard footsteps in the park, close 
to his window, out of which he had looked and, 
just then, had seen a black shadow pass by. I asked 
him whether he had a firearm of any kind. No, he 
no longer kept one, since the examining magistrate 
had taken his revolver from him. We went out 
together, by a little back door, into the park, and 
stole along the chateau to the point which is just 
below Mademoiselle Stangerson's window. 

" I placed Daddy Jacques against the wall, 
ordering him not to stir from the spot, while 
I, taking advantage of a moment when the moon 
was hidden by a cloud, moved to the front of the 
window, out of the patch of light which came from 
it, — for the window was half -open! If I could 



only know what was passing in that silent cham- 
ber! I returned to Daddy Jacques and whispered 
the word * ladder ' in his ear. At first I had 
thought of the tree which, a week ago, served me 
for an observatory; but I immediately saw that, 
from the way the window was half -opened, I should 
not be able to see from that point of view anything 
that was passing in the room ; and I wanted, not 
only to see, but to hear, and — to act. 

" Greatly agitated, almost trembling, Daddy 
Jacques disappeared for a moment and returned 
without the ladder, but making signs to me with 
his arms, as signals to me to come quickly to him. 
When I got near him he gasped : * Come ! ' 

" He led me round the chateau, past the don- 
jon. Arrived there, he said: 

" ' I went to the donjon in search of my ladder, 
and in the lower part of the donjon which serves 
me and the gardener for a lumber room, I found 
the door open and the ladder gone. On coming 
out, that *s what I caught sight of by the light 
of the moon.' 

M And he pointed to the further end of the 
chateau, where a ladder stood resting against the 
stone brackets supporting the terrace, under the 
window which I had found open. The projection 
of the terrace had prevented my seeing it. Thanks 
to that ladder, it was quite easy to get into the 
* off-turning 9 gallery of the first floor, and I had 
no doubt of it having been the road taken by the 

" We ran to the ladder, but at the moment of 
reaching it, Daddy Jacques drew my attention to 


the half-open door of the little semi-circular room, 
situated under the terrace, at the extremity of the 
right wing of the chateau, having the terrace for 
its roof. Daddy Jacques pushed the door open a 
little further and looked in. 

" i He *s not there ! ' he whispered. 

"' Who is not there?' 

" .« The forest-keeper.' 

" With his lips once more to my ear, he added : 

" * Do you know that he has slept in the upper 
room of the donjon ever since it was restored? ' 
And with the same gesture he pointed to the half- 
open door, the ladder, the terrace, and the windows 
in the * off-turning ' gallery which, a little while 
before, I had re-closed. 

" What were my thoughts then? I had no time 
to think. I felt more than I thought. 

" Evidently, I felt, if the forest-keeper is up 
there in the chamber (I say, if, because at this 
moment, apart from the presence of the ladder 
and his vacant room, there are no evidences which 
permit me even to suspect him) — if he is there, 
he has been obliged to pass by the ladder, and the 
rooms which lie behind his, in his new lodging, are 
occupied by the family of the steward and by the 
cook, and by the kitchens, which bar the way by 
the vestibule to the interior of the chateau. And 
if he had been there during the evening on any 
pretext, it would have been easy for him to go 
into the gallery and see that the window could 
be simply pushed open from the outside. This 
question of the unfastened window easily nar- 
rowed the field of search for the murderer. 


He must belong to the house, unless he had 
an accomplice, which I do not believe he had; 
unless — unless Mademoiselle Stangerson herself 
had seen that that window was not fastened from 
the inside. But, then, — what could be the fright- 
ful secret which made her under the necessity of 
doing away with obstacles that separated her from 
the murderer? 

" I seized hold of the ladder, and we returned to 
the back of the chateau to see if the window of 
the chamber was still half-open. The blind was 
drawn but did not join and allowed a bright stream 
of light to escape and fall upon the path at our 
feet. I planted the ladder under the window. I 
am almost sure that I made no noise; and while 
Daddy Jacques remained at the foot of the ladder, 
I mounted it, very quietly, my stout stick in my 
hand. I held my breath and lifted my feet with the 
greatest care. Suddenly a heavy cloud discharged 
itself at that moment in a fresh downpour of rain. 

"At the same instant the sinister cry of the 
Bete du bon Dieu arrested me in my ascent. It 
seemed to me to have come from close by me — 
only a few yards away. Was the cry a signal? — 
Had some accomplice of the man seen me on 
the ladder! — Would the cry bring the man to 
the window? — Perhaps ! Ah, there he was at the 
window! I felt his head above me. I heard the 
sound of his breath ! I could not look up towards 
him; the least movement of my head, and — I 
might be lost. Would he see me? — Would he 
peer into the darkness? No; he went away. He 
had seen nothing. I felt, rather than heard, him 



moving on tip-toe in the room; and I mounted a 
few steps higher. My head reached to the level of 
the window-sill; my forehead rose above it; my 
eyes looked between the opening in the blinds — 
and I saw — 

"A man seated at Mademoiselle Stangerson's 
little desk, writing. His back was turned toward 
me. A candle was lit before him, and he bent 
over the flame, the light from it projecting shape- 
less shadows. I saw nothing but a monstrous, 
stooping back. 

" Mademoiselle Stangerson herself was not 
there! — Her bed had not been lain on! Where, 
then, was she sleeping that night? Doubtless in 
the side-room with her women. Perhaps this was 
but a guess. I must content myself with the joy 
of finding the man alone. I must be calm to pre- 
pare my trap. 

" But who, then, is this man writing there before 
my eyes, seated at the desk, as if he were in his 
own home? If there had not been that ladder 
under the window; if there had not been those 
footprints on the carpet in the gallery; if there 
had not been that open window, I might have been 
led to think that this man had a right to be there, 
and that he was there as a matter of course and for 
reasons about which as yet I knew nothing. But 
there was no doubt that this mysterious unknown 
was the man of The Yellow Room, — the man to 
whose murderous assault Mademoiselle Stangerson 
— without denouncing him — had had to submit. 
If I could but see his face ! Surprise and capture 



" If I spring into the room at this moment, he 
will escape by the right-hand door opening into 
the boudoir, — or crossing the drawing-room, he 
will reach the gallery and I shall lose him. I have 
him now and in five minutes more he '11 be safer 
than if I had him in a cage. — What is he doing 
there, alone in Mademoiselle Stangerson's room? — 
What is he writing? I descend and place the 
ladder on the ground. Daddy Jacques follows me. 
We re-enter the chateau. I send Daddy Jacques 
to wake Monsieur Stangerson, and instruct him 
to await my coming in Mademoiselle Stangerson's 
room and to say nothing definite to him before ray 
arrival. I will go and awaken Frederic Larsan. 
It 's a bore to have to do it, for I should have liked 
to work alone and to have carried off all the honors 
of this affair myself, right under the very nose of 
the sleeping detective. But Daddy Jacques and 
Monsieur Stangerson are old men, and I am not 
yet fully developed. I might not be strong 
enough. Larsan is used to wrestling and putting 
on the handcuffs. He opened his eyes swollen with 
sleep, ready to send me flying, without in the least 
believing in my reporter's fancies. I had to assure 
him that the man was there ! 

" * That 's strange ! ' he said ; * I thought I left 
him this afternoon in Paris.' 

" He dressed himself in haste and armed himself 
with a revolver. We stole quietly into the gallery* 

" * Where is he? ' Larsan asked. 

" * In Mademoiselle Stangerson's room.' 

** * And — Mademoiselle Stangerson ? ' 

** * She is not in there.' 


"'Let's go in.' 

" Don't go there ! On the least alarm the man 
will escape. He has four ways by which to do it 
— the door, the window, the boudoir, or the room 
in which the women are sleeping.' 

" * I '11 draw him from below/ 

"'And if you fail? — If you only succeed in 
wounding him — he '11 escape again, without reck- 
oning that he is certainly armed. No, let me direct 
the expedition, and I '11 answer for everything.' 

" ' As you like,' he replied, with fairly good 

"Then, after satisfying myself that all the 
windows of the two galleries were thoroughly 
secure, I placed Frederic Larsan at the end of the 
4 off-turning ' gallery, before the window which I 
had found open and had reclosed. 

" i Under no consideration,' I said to him, * must 
you stir from this post till I call you. The chances 
are even that the man, when he is pursued, will 
return to this window and try to save himself that 
way; for it is by that way he came in and made 
a way ready for his flight. You have a dangerous 

" ' What will be yours? ' asked Fred. 

" ' I shall spring into the room and knock him 
over for you/ 

" ' Take my revolver,' said Fred, ' and I '11 take 
your stick.' 

" ' Thanks,' I said ; ' You are a brave man.' 

" I accepted his offer. I was going to be alone 
with the man in the room writing and was really 
thankful to have the weapon. 



" I left Fred, having posted him at the window 
(No. 5 on the plan), and, with the greatest 
precaution, went towards Monsieur Stangerson's 
apartment in the left wing of the chateau. I found 
him with Daddy Jacques, who had faithfully obeyed 
my directions, confining himself to asking his 
master to dress as quickly as possible. In a few 
words I explained to Monsieur Stangerson what 
was passing. He armed himself with a revolver, 
followed me, and we were all three speedily in the 
gallery. Since I had seen the murderer seated at 
the desk ten minutes had elapsed. Monsieur 
Stangerson wished to spring upon the assassin at 
once and kill him. I made him understand that, 
above all, he must not, hi his desire to kill him, 
miss him. 

" When I had sworn to him that his daughter 
was not in the room, and in no danger, he con- 
quered his impatience and left me to direct the 
operations. I told them that they must come to 
me the moment I called to them, or when I fired 
my revolver. I then sent Daddy Jacques to place 
himself before the window at the end of the i right * 
gallery. (No. 2 on my plan.) I chose that posi- 
tion for Daddy Jacques because I believed that the . 
murderer, tracked, on leaving the room, would 
run through the gallery towards the window which 
he had left open, and, instantly seeing that it was 
guarded by Larsan, would pursue his course along 
the * right ' gallery. There he would encounter 
Daddy Jacques, who would prevent his springing 
out of the window into the park. Under that 
window there was a sort of buttress, while all the 


other windows in the galleries were at s&ch a 
height from the ground that it was almost im- 
possible to jump from them without breaking one's 
neck. All the doors and windows, including those 
of the lumber-room at the end of the * right * gal- 
lery — as I had rapidly assUred myself — were 
strongly secured. 

" Having indicated to Daddy Jacques the post 
he was to occupy, and haying seen him take up 
his position, I placed Monsieur Stangerson on the 
landing at the head of the stairs not far from the 
door of his daughter's ante-room. Everything 
led me to suppose that when I surprised the mur- 
derer in the room, he would run by way of the 
ante-room, rather than the boudoir, where the 
women were, and of which the door must have 
been locked by Mademoiselle Stangerson herself 
if, as I thought, she had taken refuge in the 
boudoir for the purpose of avoiding the murderer 
who was coming to see her. In any case, he must 
return to the gallery where my people were await- 
ing him at every possible issue. 

" On coming there, he would see on his left, Mon- 
sieur Stangerson; he would turn to the right, 
towards the * off-turning ' gallery — the way he 
had pre-arranged for flight, where, at the inter- 
section of the two galleries, he would see at once, 
as I have explained, on his left, Frederic Larsan at 
the end of the 6 off-turning 9 gallery, and in front, 
Daddy Jacques, at the end of the 4 right 9 gallery. 
Monsieur Stangerson and myself would arrive by 
way of the back of the chateau. — He is ours! 
— He can no longer escape us ! I was sure of that. 
12 177 


" The plan I had formed seemed to me the best, 
the surest, and the most simple. It would, no 
doubt, have been simpler still, if we had been able 
to place some one directly behind the door of 
Mademoiselle's boudoir, which opened out of her 
bedchamber, and, in that way, had been in a posi- 
tion to besiege the two doors of the room in which 
the man was. But we could not penetrate the 
boudoir except by way of the drawing-room, the 
door of which had been locked on the inside by 
Mademoiselle Stangerson. But even if I had had 
the free disposition of the boudoir, I should have 
held to the plan I had formed ; because any other 
plan of attack would have separated us at the mo- 
ment of the struggle with the man, while my plan 
united us all for the attack, at a spot which I had 
selected with almost mathematical precision, — the 
intersection of the two galleries. 

" Having so placed my people, I again left the 
chateau, hurried to my ladder, and, replacing it, 
climbed up, revolver in hand. 

" If there be any inclined to smile at my taking 
so many precautionary measures, I refer them to 
the mystery of The Yellow Room, and to all the 
proofs we have of the weird cunning of the mur- 
derer. Further, if there be some who think my 
observations needlessly minute at a moment when 
they ought to be completely held by rapidity of 
movement and decision of action, I reply that I 
have wished to report here, at length and com- 
pletely, all the details of a plan of attack conceived 
so rapidly that it is only the slowness of my pen 
that gives an appearance of slowness to the exe- 


ration. I have wished, by this slowness and pre- 
cision, to be certain that nothing should be omitted 
from the conditions under which the strange phe- 
nomenon was produced, which, until some natural 
explanation of it is forthcoming, seems to me to 
prove, even better than the theories of Pro- 
fessor Stangerson, the Dissociation of Matter — I 
will even say, the instantaneous Dissociation of 


Strange Phenomenon of the Dissociation of 

(Extract fbom the Note-Book of Joseph Rouletabille, 

"T AM again at the window-sill," continues Rou- 
JL letabille, " and once more I raise my head 
above it. Through an opening in the curtains, the 
arrangement of which has not been changed, I am 
ready to look, anxious to note the position in which 
I am going to find the murderer, — whether his 
back will still be turned towards me ! — whether he 
is still seated at the desk writing! But perhaps 
— perhaps — he is no longer there! — Yet how 
could he have fled? — Was I not in possession of 
his ladder? I force myself to be cool. I raise my 
head yet higher. I look — he is still there. I see 
his monstrous back, deformed by the shadow 
thrown by the candle. He is no longer writing 
now, and the candle is on the parquet, over 
which he is bending — a position which serves my 

" I hold my breath. I mount the ladder. I am 
on the uppermost rung of it, and with my left hand 
seize hold of the window-sill. In this moment of 
approaching success, I feel my heart beating wildly. 
I put my revolver between my teeth. A quick 


spring, and I shall be on the window-ledge. But 
— the ladder ! I had been obliged to press on it 
heavily, and my foot had scarcely left it, when I 
felt it swaying beneath me. It grated on the wall 
and fell. But, already, my knees were touching 
the window-sill, and, by a movement quick as light- 
ning, I got on to it. 

" But the murderer had been even quicker than 
I had been. He had heard the grating of the lad- 
der on the wall, and I saw the monstrous back of the 
man raise itself. I saw his head. Did I really see 
it? — The candle on the parquet lit up his legs 
only. Above the height of the table the chamber 
was in darkness. I saw a man with long hair, a 
full beard, wild-looking eyes, a pale face, framed 
in large whiskers, — as well as I could distinguish, 
and, as I think — red in colour. I did not know 
the face. That was, in brief, the chief sensation I 
received from that face in the dim half-light in 
which I saw it. I did not know it — or, at least, 
I did not recognise it. 

" Now for quick action ! It was indeed time 
for that, for as I was about to place my legs 
through the window, the man had seen me, had 
bounded to his feet, had sprung — as I foresaw 
he would — to the door of the ante-chamber, had 
time to open it, and fled. But I was already 
behind him, revolver in hand, shouting 4 Help ! * 

" Like an arrow I crossed the room, but noticed 
a letter on the table as I rushed. I almost came 
up with the man in the ante-room, for he had 
lost time in opening the door to the gallery. I 
flew on wings, and in the gallery was but a few 


feet behind him. He had taken, as I supposed 
he would, the gallery on his right, — that is 
to say, the road he had prepared for his flight. 

* Help, Jacques ! — help, Larsan ! ' I cried. He 
could not escape us! I raised a shout of joy, 
of savage victory. The man reached the intersec- 
tion of the two galleries hardly two seconds before 
me for the meeting which I had prepared — the 
fatal shock which must inevitably take place at that 
spot ! We all rushed to the crossing-place — Mon- 
sieur Stangerson and I coming from one end of the 
right gallery, Daddy Jacques coming from the 
other end of the same gallery, and Frederic Larsan 
coming from the * off-turning ' gallery. 

" The man was not there ! 

" We looked at each other stupidly and with 
eyes terrified. The man had vanished like a ghost. 

* Where is he — where is he?' we all asked. 

" ' It is impossible he can have escaped ! * I cried, 
my terror mastered by my anger. 

" * I touched him ! ' exclaimed Frecteric Larsan. 

" 4 1 felt his breath on my face ! ' cried Daddy 

" * Where is he? * — where is he? * we all cried. 

" We raced like madmen along the two galleries ; 
we visited doors and windows — they were closed, 
hermetically closed. They had not been opened. 
Besides, the opening of a door or window by this 
man whom we were hunting, without our having 
perceived it, would have been more inexplicable 
than his disappearance? 

"Where is he? — where is he? — He could not 
have got away by a door or a window, nor by any 



other way. He could not have passed through oui 

* I confess that, for the moment, I felt 4 dona 
for.' For the gallery was perfectly lighted, and 
there was neither trap, nor secret door in the 
walls, nor any sort of hiding-place. We moved the 
chairs and lifted the pictures. Nothing! — noth- 
ing! We would have looked into a flower-pot, if 
there had been one to look into! " 

When this mystery, thanks to Rouletabille, was 
naturally explained, by the help alone of his 
masterful mind, we were able to realise that the 
murderer had got away neither by a door, a win- 
dow, nor the stairs — a fact which the judges 
would not admit. 



The Inexplicable Gallery 

1TA peared at the door of her ante-room," 
continues Rouletabille's note-book. " We were near 
her door in the gallery where this incredible phe- 
nomenon had taken place. There are moments 
when one feels as if one's brain were about to burst. 
A bullet in the head, a fracture of the skull, the 
seat of reason shattered — with only these can 
I compare the sensation which exhausted and left 
me void of sense. 

" Happily, Mademoiselle Stangerson appeared 
on the threshold of her ante-room. I saw her, and 
that helped to relieve my chaotic state of mind. 
I breathed her — I inhaled the perfume of the lady 
in black, whom I should never see again. I would 
have given ten years of my life — half my life — 
to see once more the lady in black! Alas! I no 
more meet her but from time to time, — and yet ! 
— and yet ! how the memory of that perfume — 
felt by me alone — carries me back to the days 
of my childhood. 1 It was this sharp reminder 

1 When I wrote these lines, Joseph Rouletabille was eighteen 
years of age, — and he spoke of his " youth." I have kept the text 
of my friend, but I inform the reader here that the episode of the 
mystery of The Yellow Room has no connection with that of the 
perfume of the lady in black. It is not my fault if, in the docu- 
ment which I have cited, Rouletabille thought fit to refer to his 




from my beloved perfume, of the lady in black, 
which made me go to her — dressed wholly in white 
and so pale — so pale and so beautiful ! — on the 
threshold of the inexplicable gallery. Her beau- 
tiful golden hair, gathered into a knot on the 
back of her neck, left visible the red star on her 
temple which had so nearly been the cause of her 
death. When I first got on the right track of 
the mystery of this case I had imagined that, on 
the night of the tragedy in The Yellow Room, 
Mademoiselle Stangerson had worn her hair in 
bands. But then, how could I have imagined 
otherwise when I had not been in The Yellow 
Room ! 

" But now, since the occurrence of the inexplic- 
able gallery, I did not reason at all. I stood there, 
stupid, before the apparition — so pale and so 
beautiful — of Mademoiselle Stangerson. She was 
clad in a dressing-gown of dreamy white. One 
might have taken her to be a ghost — a lovely 
phantom. Her father took her in his arms and 
kissed her passionately, as if he had recovered her 
after being long lost to him. I dared not question 
her. He drew her into the room and we followed 
them, — for we had to know ! — The door of the 
boudoir was open. The terrified faces of the two 
nurses craned towards us. Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son inquired the meaning of all the disturbance. 
That she was not in her own room was quite easily 
explained — quite easily. She had a fancy not 
to sleep that nigl\t in her chamber, but in the 
boudoir with her nurses, locking the door on them. 
Since the night of the crime she had exijerienced 


feelings of terror, and fears came over her that are 
easily to be comprehended. 

" But who oould imagine that on that particular 
night when he was to come, she would, by a mere 
chance, determine to shut herself in with her 
t women? Who would think that she would act con- 
trary to her father's wish to sleep in the drawing- 
room? Who could believe that the letter which 
had so recently been on the table in her room 
would no longer be there? He who could under- 
stand all this, would have to assume that Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson knew that the murderer was com- 
ing — she could not prevent his coming again — 
unknown to her father, unknown to all but to Mon- 
sieur Robert Darzac. For he must know it now — 
perhaps he had known it before ! Did he remember 
that phrase in the ElysSe garden : 4 Must I commit 
a crime, then, to win you?* Against whom the 
crime, if not against the obstacle, against the mur- 
derer? 4 Ah, I would kill him with my own hand ! ' 
— And I replied, 'You have not answered my 
question.' That was the very truth. In truth, in 
truth, Monsieur Darzac knew the murderer so well 
that — while wishing to kill him himself — he was 
afraid I should find him. There could be but two 
reasons why he had assisted me in my investigation. 
First, because I have forced him to do it; and, 
second, because she would be the better protected. 

" I am in the chamber — her room. I look at 
her, also at the place where the letter had just 
now been. She has possessed herself of it ; it was 
evidently intended for her — evidently. How she 
trembles! — Trembles at the strange stoiy her 

J 86 


father is telling her, of the presence of the mur- 
derer in her chamber, and of the pursuit. But it 
is plainly to be seen that she is not wholly satis- 
fied by the assurance given her until she had been 
told that the murderer, by some incomprehensible 
means, had been able to elude us. 

" Then follows a silence. What a silence ! We 
are all there — looking at her, — her father, Lar- 
san, Daddy Jacques and I. What were we all 
thinking of in the silence? After the events 
of that night, of the mystery of the inexplic- 
able gallery, of the prodigious fact of the pres- 
ence of the murderer in her room, it seemed to 
me that all our thoughts might have been trans- 
lated into the words which were addressed to her. 
* You who know of this mystery, explain it to us, 
and we shall perhaps be able to save you.' How I 
longed to save her — from herself, and, from the 
other ! — It brought the tears to my eyes. 

" She is there, shedding about her the per- 
fume of the lady in black. At last, I see her, in 
the silence of her chamber. Since the fatal hour 
of the mystery of The Yellow Room, we have hung 
about this invisible and silent woman to learn what 
she knows. Our desires, our wish to know must 
be a torment to her. Who can tell that, should 
we learn the secret of her mystery, it would not 
precipitate a tragedy more terrible than that 
which had already been enacted here? Who can 
tell if it might not mean her death? Yet it 
had brought her close to death, — and we still 
knew nothing. Or, rather, there are some of 
us who know nothing. But I — if I knew who, 



I should know all. Who? — Who? — Not know- 
ing who, I must remain silent, out of pity for her. 
For there is no doubt that she knows how he es- 
caped from The Yellow Room, and yet she keeps 
the secret. When I know who, I will speak to him 
— to him!" 

" She looked at us now — with a far-away look 
in her eyes — is if we were not in the chamber. 
Monsieur Stangerson broke the silence. He de- 
clared that, henceforth, he would no more absent 
himself from his daughter's apartments. She tried 
to oppose him in vain. He adhered firmly to his 
purpose. He would install himself there this very 
night, he said. Solely concerned for the health of 
his daughter, he reproached her for haying left 
her bed. Then he suddenly began talking to her 
as if she were a little child. He smiled at her and 
seemed not to know either what he said or what he 
did. The illustrious professor had lost his head. 
Mademoiselle Stangerson in a tone of tender dis- 
tress said: 4 Father! — father!' Daddy Jacques 
blows his nose, and Fr£d£ric Larsan himself is 
obliged to turn away to hide his emotion. For 
myself, I am able neither to think or feel. I felt an 
infinite contempt for myself. 

" It was the first time that Fr£d6ric Larsan, like 
myself, found himself face to face with Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson since the attack in The Yellow 
Room. Like me, he had insisted on being allowed 
to question the unhappy lady; but he had not, 
any more than had I, been permitted. To him, 
as to me, the same answer had always been given: 
Mademoiselle Stangerson was too weak to receive 



us. The questionings of the examining magistrate 
had over-fatigued her. It was evidently intended 
not to give us any assistance in our researches. 
I was not surprised; but Fr£d6ric Larsan had 
always resented this conduct. It is true that he 
and I had a totally different theory of the crime. 

44 I still catch myself repeating from the depths 
of my heart : 4 Save her ! — save her without his 
speaking!' Who is he — the murderer? Take 
him and shut his mouth. But Monsieur Darzac 
made it clear that in order to shut his mouth he 
must be killed. Have I the right to kill Made- 
moiselle Stangerson's murderer? No, I had not. 
But let him only give me the chance ! Let me find 
out whether he is really a creature of flesh and 
blood ! — Let me see his dead body, since it cannot 
be taken alive. 

44 If I could but make this woman, who does not 
even look at us, understand! She is absorbed 
by her fears and by her father's distress of mind. 
And I can do nothing to save her. Yes, I will 
go to work once more and accomplish wonders. 

44 1 move towards her. I would speak to her. 
I would entreat her to have confidence in me. I 
would, in a word, make her understand — she alone 
— that I know how the murderer escaped from The 
Yellow Room — that I have guessed the motives 
for her secrecy — and that I pity her with all my 
heart. But by her gestures she begged us to leave 
her alone, expressing weariness and the need for 
immediate rest. Monsieur Stangerson asked us 
to go back to our rooms and thanked us. Fre*d- 
6ric Larsan and I bowed to him and, followed bj; 



Daddy Jacques, we regained the gallery. I heard 
Larsan murmur : * Strange ! strange ! ' He made 
a sign to me to go with him into his room. On the 
threshold he turned towards Daddy Jacques. 

" 4 Did you see him distinctly? ' he asked. 


444 The man?' 

44 4 Saw him ! — why, he had a big red beard and 
red hair.' 

44 4 That 's how he appeared to me/ I said. 

44 4 And to me/ said Larsan. 

44 The great Fred and I were alone in his cham- 
ber, now, to talk over this thing. We talked for an 
hour, turning the matter over and viewing it from 
every side. From the questions put by him, from 
the explanation which he gives me, it is clear to 
me that — in spite of all our senses he is persuaded 
the man disappeared by some secret passage in the 
chateau known to him alone. 

444 He knows the chateau,' he said to me; 4 he 
knows it well.' 

44 4 He is a rather tall man — well-built/ I 

44 4 He is as tall as he wants to be,' murmured 

" 4 1 understand,' I said ; * but how do you ac- 
count for his red hair and beard? ' 

44 4 Too much beard — too much hair — false,' 
says Fred. 

44 4 That 's easily said. You are always think- 
ing of Robert Darzac. You can't get rid of that 
idea? J am certain that he is innocent.' 

44 4 So much the better. I hope so ; but every- 


thing condemns him. Did you notice the marks 
on the carpet? — Come and look at them.' 

44 4 1 have seen them ; they are the marks of the 
neat boots, the same as those we saw on the border 
of the lake.' 

44 4 Can you deny that they belong to Robert 
Darzac? ' 

44 4 Of course, one may be mistaken.' 

44 4 Have you noticed that those footprints only 
go in one direction ? — that there are no return 
marks? When the man came from the chamber, 
pursued by all of us, his footsteps left no traces 
behind them.' 

44 4 He had, perhaps, been in the chamber for 
hours. The mud from his boots had dried, and he 
moved with such rapidity on the points of his toes 
— We saw him running, but we did not hear his 

44 1 suddenly put an end to this idle chatter — 
void of any logic, and made a sign to Larsan to 

444 There — below; some one is shutting a door.' 

44 1 rise ; Larsan follows me ; we descend to the 
ground-floor of the chateau. I lead him to the 
little semi-circular room under the terrace be- 
neath the window of the 4 off-turning ' gallery. I 
point to the door, now closed, open a short time 
before, under which a shaft of light is visible. 

44 4 The forest-keeper ! ' says Fred. 

44 4 Come on ! ' I whisper. 

44 Prepared — I know not why — to believe 
that the keeper is the guilty man — I go to the 
door and rap smartly on it. 



44 Some might think that we were rather late 
in thinking of the keeper, since our first business, 
after having found that the murderer had escaped 
us in the gallery, ought to have been to search 
everywhere else, — around the chateau, — in the 
park — 

" Had this criticism been made at the time, wc 
could only have answered that the assassin had dis- 
appeared from the gallery in such a way that we 
thought he was no longer anywhere! He had 
eluded us when we all had our hands stretched out 
ready to seize him — when we were almost touch- 
ing him. We had no longer any ground for hoping 
that we could clear up the mystery of that night. 

44 As soon as I rapped at the door it was opened, 
and the keeper asked us quietly what we wanted. 
He was undressed and preparing to go to bed. 
The bed had not yet been disturbed. 

44 We entered and I affected surprise. 

"'Not gone to bed yet?' 

44 4 No,' he replied roughly. 4 1 have been mak- 
ing a round of the park and in the woods. I am 
only just back — and sleepy. Good-night ! ' 

44 4 Listen,' I said. 4 An hour or so ago, there 
was a ladder close by your window.* 

444 What ladder? — I did not see any ladder. 

44 And he simply put us out of the room. When 
we were outside I looked at Larsan. His face was 

44 4 Well? ' I said. 

"'Well?' he repeated. 

" * Does that open out any new view to you? 9 


M There was no mistaking Larsan's bad temper. 
On re-entering the chateau, I heard him mutter 

" ' It would be strange — very strange — if I 
had deceived myself on that point ! ' 

" He seemed to be talking to me rather than to 
himself. He added 

" 4 In any case, we shall soon know what to 
think. The morning will bring light with it.' " 


Rovletatnlle Has Drawn a Circle between 
the Two Bumps on His Forehead 

(Extract from the Note-Book of Joseph Rouletabille, 

" "1 31 7E separated on the thresholds of our 
V V rooms, with a melancholy shake of the 
hands. I was glad to have aroused in him a suspi- 
cion of error. His was an original brain, very in- 
telligent but — without method. I did not go to 
bed. I awaited the coming of daylight and then 
went down to the front of the chateau, and made a 
detour, examining every trace of footsteps coming 
towards it or going from it. These, however, were 
so mixed and confusing that I could make nothing 
of them. Here I may make a remark, — I am not 
accustomed to attach an exaggerated importance 
to exterior signs left in the track of a crime. 

" The method which traces the criminal by means 
of the tracks of his footsteps is altogether primi- 
tive. So many footprints are identical. However, 
in the disturbed state of my mind, I did go into 
the deserted court and did look at all the footprints 
I could find there, seeking for some indication, as 
a basis for reasoning. 

" If I could but find a right starting-point ! In 
despair I seated myself on a stone. For over an 


hour I busied myself with the common, ordinary 
work of a policeman. Like the least intelligent of 
detectives I went on blindly over the traces of 
footprints which told me just no more than they 

" I came to the conclusion that I was a fool, 
lower in the scale of intelligence than even the 
police of the modern romancer. Novelists build 
mountains of stupidity out of a footprint on the 
sand, or from an impression of a hand on the wall. 
That *s the way innocent men are brought to 
prison. It might convince an examining magis- 
trate or the head of a detective department, but 
it *s not proof. You writers forget that what the 
senses furnish is not proof. If I am taking cogni- 
sance of what is offered me by my senses I do so but 
to bring the results within the circle of my reason. 
That circle may be the most circumscribed, but if 
it is, it has this advantage — it holds nothing but 
the truth! Yes, I swear that I have never used the 
evidence of the senses but as servants to my reason. 
I have never permitted them to become my master. 
They have not made of me that monstrous thing, 
— worse than a blind man, — a man who sees 
falsely. And that is why I can triumph over your 
error and your merely animal intelligence, Frederic 

" Be of good courage, then, friend Rouletabille ; 
it is impossible that the incident of the inexplicable 
gallery should be outside the circle of your reason. 
You know that ! Then have faith and take thought 
with yourself and forget not that you took hold of 
the right end when you drew that circle in your 



brain within which to unravel this mysterious play 
of circumstance. 

"To it, once again! Go back to the gallery. 
Take your stand on your reason and rest there as 
Fr£d£ric Larsan rests on his cane. You will then 
soon prove that the great Fred is nothing but a 
fool. — SOth October. Noon. 

" Joseph Rouletabujle." 
• • • • • 

" I acted as I planned. With head on fire, I 
retraced my way to the gallery, and without having 
found anything more than I had seen on the 
previous night, the right hold I had taken of my 
reason drew me to something so important that 
I was obliged to cling to it to save myself from 

" Now for the strength and patience to find 
sensible traces to fit in with my thinking — and 
these must come within the circle I have drawn 
between the two bumps on my forehead! — SOth 
of October. Midnight." 

" Joseph Rouletabelle." 


Rovletabille Invites Me to Breakfast at the 
Donjon Inn 

IT was not until later that Rouletabille sent me 
the Note-Book in which he had written at 
length the story of the phenomenon of the inex- 
plicable gallery. On the day I arrived at the Glan- 
dier and joined him in his room, he recounted to 
me, with the greatest detail, all that I have now 
related, telling me also how he had spent several 
hours in Paris where he had learned nothing that 
could be of any help to him. 

The event of the inexplicable gallery had oc- 
curred on the night between the 29th and 80th of 
October, that is to say, three days before my 
return to the chateau. It was on the 2nd of No- 
vember, then, that I went back to the Glandier, 
summoned there by my friend's telegram, and tak- 
ing the revolvers with me. 

I am now in Rouletabille's room and he has 
finished his recital. 

While he had been telling me the story I noticed 
him continually rubbing the glass of the eye- 
glasses he had found on the side table. From the 
evident pleasure he was taking in handling them 
I felt they must be one of those sensible evidences 
destined to enter, what he had called, the circle 


of the right end of his reason. That strange 
and unique way of his, to express himself in terms 
wonderfully adequate for his thought, no longer 
surprised me. It was often necessary to know 
his thought to understand the terms he used ; and 
it was not easy to penetrate into Rouletabille's 

This lad's brain was one of the most curious 
things I have ever observed. Rouletabille went 
on the even tenor of his way without suspect- 
ing the astonishment and even bewilderment he 
roused in others. I am sure he was not himself 
in the least conscious of the originality of his 
genius. He was himself and at ease wherever he 
happened to be. 

When he had finished his recital he asked me 
what I thought of it. I replied that I was much 
puzzled by his question. Then he begged me to 
try, in my turn, to take my reason in hand " by 
the right end." 

" Very well," I said. " It seems to me that the 
point of departure of my reason would be this — 
there can be no doubt that the murderer you pur- 
sued was in the gallery." I paused. 

" After making so good a start, you ought not 
to stop so soon," he exclaimed. " Come, make 
another effort." 

" I '11 try. Since he disappeared from the gal- 
lery without passing through any door or window, 
he must have escaped by some other opening." 

Rouletabille looked at me pityingly, smiled care- 
lessly, and remarked that I was reasoning like 
a postman, or — like Frederic Larsan. 


Rouletabille had alternate fits of admiration 
and disdain for the great Fred. It all depended 
as to whether Larsan's discoveries tallied with Rou- 
letabille's reasoning or not. When they did he 
would exclaim : " He is really great ! " When they 
did not he would grunt and mutter, "What an 
ass ! " It was a petty side of the noble character 
of this strange youth. 

We had risen, and he led me into the park. When 
we reached the court and were making towards the 
gate, the sound of blinds thrown back against the 
wall made us turn our heads, and we saw, at a 
window on the first floor of the chateau, the ruddy 
and clean shaven face of a person I did not 

" Hullo !" muttered Rouletabille. "Arthur 
Ranee ! " — He lowered his head, quickened his 
pace, and I heard him ask himself between his 
teeth: " Was he in the chateau that night? What 
is he doing here? " 

We had gone some distance from the chateau 
when I asked him who this Arthur Ranee was, 
and how he had come to know him. He referred 
to his story of that morning and I remembered that 
Mr. Arthur W. Ranee was the American from 
Philadelphia with whom he had had so many drinks 
at the Elysee reception. 

" But was he not to have left France almost 
immediately? " I asked. 

" No doubt ; that *s why I am surprised to find 
him here still, and not only in France, but above all, 
at the Glandier. He did not arrive this morning ; 
and he did not get here last night. He must have 



got here before dinner, then. Why didn't the 
concierges tell me? " 

I reminded my friend, apropos of the concierges, 
that he had not yet told me what had led him to 
get them set at liberty. 

We were close to their lodge. Monsieur and 
Madame Bernier saw us coming. A frank smile 
lit up their happy faces. They seemed to harbour 
no ill-feeling because of their detention. My 
young friend asked them at what hour Mr. Arthur 
Ranee had arrived. They answered that they did 
not know he was at the chateau. He must have 
come during the evening of the previous night, 
but they had not had to open the gate for him, 
because, being a great walker, and not wishing 
that a carriage should be sent to meet him, he was 
accustomed to get off at the little hamlet of Saint- 
Michel, from which he came to the chateau by way 
of the forest. He reached the park by the grotto 
of Sainte-Genevi&ve, over the little gate of which, 
giving on to the park, he climbed. 

As the concierges spoke, I saw Rouletabille's face 
cloud over and exhibit disappointment — a disap- 
pointment, no doubt, with himself. Evidently he 
was a little vexed, after having worked so much on 
the spot, with so minute a study of the people and 
events at the Glandier, that he had to learn now 
that Arthur Ranee was accustomed to visit the 

" You say that Monsieur Arthur Ranee is ac- 
customed to come to the chateau. When did he 
come here last? " 

"We can't tell you exactly ," replied Madame 


Bernier — that was the name of the concierge — 
" we could n't know while they were keeping us in 
prison. Besides, as the gentleman comes to the 
chateau without passing through our gate he goes 
away by the way he comes." 

" Do you know when he came the first time? " 

" Oh yes, Monsieur ! — nine years ago." 

" He was in France nine years ago, then," said 
Rouletabille, " and, since that time, as far as 
you know, how many times has he been at the 
Glandier? " 

" Three times." 

" When did he come the last time, as far as you 
know? " 

"A week before the attempt in The Yellow 

Rouletabille put another question — this time 
addressing himself particularly to the woman : — 

" In the grove of the parquet? " 

" In the grove of the parquet," she replied. 

" Thanks ! " said Rouletabille. " Be ready for 
me this evening." 

He spoke the last words with a finger on his lips 
as if to command silence and discretion. 

We left the park and took the way to the Donjon 

" Do you often eat here? " 

" Sometimes." 

" But you also take your meals at the chateau? " 

"Yes, Larsan and I are sometimes served in 
one of our rooms." 

" Has n't Monsieur Stangerson ever invited you 
to his own table? " 



« Never." 

"Does your presence at the chateau displease 

" I don't know ; but, in any case, he does not 
make us feel that we are in his way." 

" Does n't he question you? " 

" Never. He is in the same state of mind as he 
was in at the door of The Yellow Room when his 
daughter was being murdered, and when he broke 
open the door and did not find the murderer. He 
is persuaded, since he could discover nothing, that 
there 's no reason why we should be able to discover 
more than he did. But he has made it his duty, 
since Larsan expressed his theory, not to oppose 

Rouletabille buried himself in thought again for 
some time. He aroused himself later to tell me of 
how he came to set the two concierges free. 

" I went lately to see Monsieur Stangerson, and 
took with me a piece of paper on which was written : 
* I promise, whatever others may say, to keep in 
my service my two faithful servants, Bernier and 
his wife.' I explained to him that, by signing that 
document, he would enable me to compel those two 
people to speak out ; and I declared my own assur- 
ance of their innocence of any part in the crime. 
That was also his opinion. The examining 
magistrate, after it was signed, presented the 
document to the Berniers, who then did speak. 
They said, what I was certain they would say, as 
soon as they were sure they would not lose their 

" They confessed to poaching on Monsieur 


Stangerson's estates, and it was while they were 
poaching, on the night of the crime, that they 
were found not far from the pavilion at the mo- 
ment when the outrage was being committed. 
Some rabbits they caught in that way were sold 
by them to the landlord of the Donjon Inn, who 
served them to his customers, or sent them to Paris. 
That was the truth, as I had guessed from the first. 
Do you remember what I said, on entering the 
Donjon Inn? — 'We shall have to eat red meat 
— now ! ' I had heard the words on the same morn- 
ing when we arrived at the park gate. You heard 
them also, but you did not attach any importance 
to them. You recollect, when we reached the park 
gate, that we stopped to look at a man who was 
running by the side of the wall, looking every 
minute at his watch. That was Larsan. Well, be- 
hind us the landlord of the Donjon Inn, standing 
on his doorstep, said to someone inside : * We shall 
have to eat red meat — now.' 

" Why that * now '? When you are, as I am, in 
search of some hidden secret, you can't afford to 
have anything escape you. You Ve got to know 
the meaning of everything. We had come into a 
rather out-of-the-way part of the country which had 
been turned topsy-turvey by a crime, and my reason 
led me to suspect every phrase that could bear upon 
the event of the day. ' Now,' I took to mean, * since 
the outrage.' In the course of my inquiry, there- 
fore, I sought to find a relation between that phrase 
and the tragedy. We went to the Donjon Inn for 
breakfast; I repeated the phrase and saw, by the 
surprise and trouble on Daddy Mathieu's face, that 


I had not exaggerated its importance, so far as 
he was concerned. 

" I had just learned that the concierges had been 
arrested. Daddy Mathieu spoke of them as of dear 
friends — people for whom one is sorry. That was 
a reckless conjunction of ideas, I said to myself. 
* Now,' that the concierges are arrested, * we shall 
have to eat red meat.' No more concierges, no 
more game! The hatred expressed by Daddy 
Mathieu for Monsieur Stangerson's forest-keeper 
— a hatred he pretended was shared by the con- 
cierges — led me easily to think of poaching. 
Now as all the evidence showed the concierges 
had not been in bed at the time of the tragedy, 
why were they abroad that night? As participants 
in the crime? I was not disposed to think so. I 
had already arrived at the conclusion, by steps of 
which I will tell you later — that the assassin had 
had no accomplice, and that the tragedy held a 
mystery between Mademoiselle Stangerson and the 
murderer, a mystery with which the concierges had 
nothing to do. 

" With that theory in my mind, I searched for 
proof in their lodge, which, as you know, I entered, 
I found there under their bed, some springs and 
brass wire. * Ah ! ' I thought, * these things ex- 
plain why they were out in the park at night ! * 
I was not surprised at the dogged silence they 
maintained before the examining magistrate, even 
under the accusation so grave as that of being 
accomplices in the crime. Poaching would save 
them from the Assize Court, but it would lose them 
their places; and, as they were perfectly sure of 


their innocence of the crime, they hoped it would 
soon be established, and then their poaching might 
go on as usual. They could always confess later. 
I, however, hastened their confession by means of 
the document Monsieur Stangerson signed. They 
gave all the necessary * proofs,' were set at lib- 
erty, and have now a lively gratitude for me. 
Why did I not get them released sooner? Because 
I was not sure that nothing more than poaching 
was against them. I wanted to study the ground. 
As the days went by, my conviction became more 
and more certain. The day after the events of the 
inexplicable gallery I had need of help I could rely 
on, so I resolved to have them released at once." 

That was bow Joseph Rouletabille explained 
himself. Once more I could not but be astonished 
at the simplicity of the reasoning which had 
brought him to the truth of the matter. Certainly 
this was no big thing; but I think, myself, that 
the young man will, one of these days, explain 
with the same simplicity, the fearful tragedy in 
The Yellow Room as well as the phenomenon of the 
inexplicable gallery. 

We reached the Donjon Inn and entered it. 

This time we did not see the landlord, but were 
received with a pleasant smile by the hostess. I 
have already described the room in which we found 
ourselves, and I have given a glimpse of the charm- 
ing blonde woman with the gentle eyes who now 
immediately began to prepare our breakfast. 

" How 's Daddy Mathieu? " asked Rouletabille. 

"Not much better — not much better; he is 
still confined to his bed." 


"His rheumatism still sticks to him, then?" 

" Yes. Last night I was again obliged to give 
him morphine — the only drug that gives him any 

She spoke in a soft voice. Everything about 
her expressed gentleness. She was, indeed, a beau- 
tiful woman; somewhat with an air of indolence, 
with great eyes seemingly black and blue — amor- 
ous eyes. Was she happy with her crabbed, rheu- 
matic husband? The scene at which we had once 
been present did not lead us to believe that she 
was ; yet there was something in her bearing that 
was not suggestive of despair. She disappeared 
into the kitchen to prepare our repast, leaving on 
the table a bottle of excellent cider. Rouletabille 
filled our earthenware mugs, loaded his pipe, and 
quietly explained to me his reason for asking me 
to come to the Glandier with revolvers. 

" Yes," he said, contemplatively looking at the 
clouds of smoke he was puffing out, " yes, my dear 
boy, I expect the assassin to-night." 

A brief silence followed, which I took care not 
to interrupt, and then he went on : — 

" Last night, just as I was going to bed, Mon- 
sieur Robert Darzac knocked at my room. When 
he came in he confided to me that he was compelled 
kto go to Paris the next day, that is, this morning. 
'The reason which made this journey necessary was 
at once peremptory and mysterious; it was not 
possible for him to explain its object to me. *I 
go, and yet,' he added, * I would give my life not 
to leave Mademoiselle Stangerson at this moment.* 
He did not try to hide that he believed her to 


be once more in danger. * It will not greatly as- 
tonish me if something happens to-morrow night/ 
he avowed, * and yet I must be absent. I cannot 
be back at the Glandier before the morning of the 
day after to-morrow.' " 

" I asked him to explain himself, and this is all 
he would tell me. His anticipation of coming dan- 
ger had come to him solely from the coincidence that 
Mademoiselle Stangerson had been twice attacked, 
and both times when he had been absent. On the 
night of the incident of the inexplicable gallery he 
had been obliged to be away from the Glandier. On 
the night of the tragedy in The Yellow Room he 
had also not been able to be at the Glandier, though 
this was the first time he had declared himself on 
the matter. Now a man so moved who should still 
go away must be acting under compulsion — must 
be obeying a will stronger than his own. That 
was how I reasoned, and I told him so. He 
replied * Perhaps/ — I asked him if Mademoiselle 
Stangerson was compelling him. He protested 
that she was not. His determination to go to 
Paris had been taken without any conference with 
Mademoiselle Stangerson. 

" To cut the story short, he repeated that his 
belief in the possibility of a fresh attack was 
founded entirely on the extraordinary coincidence. 
'If anything happens to Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son,' he said, * it would be terrible for both of us. 
For her, because her life would be in danger ; for 
me because I could neither defend her from the 
attack nor tell of where I had been. I am perfectly 
aware of the suspicions cast on me. The examin- 


ing magistrate and Monsieur Larsan are both 
on the point of believing in my guilt. Larsan 
tracked me the last time I went to Paris, and I had 
all the trouble in the world to get rid of him.' 

" * Why do you not tell me the name of the mur- 
derer now, if you know it? ' I cried. 

" Monsieur Darzac appeared extremely troubled 
by my question, and replied to me in a hesitating 
tone : — 

"'I? — I know the name of the murderer? 
Why, how could I know his name?' 

" I at once replied : * From Mademoiselle Stang- 

" He grew so pale that I thought he was about 
to faint, and I saw that I had hit the right nail 
on the head. Mademoiselle and he knew the name 
of the murderer! When he recovered himself, he 
said to me : ' I am going to leave you. Since you 
have been here I have appreciated your exceptional 
intelligence and your unequalled ingenuity. But 
I ask this service of you. Perhaps I am wrong to 
fear an cttack during the coming night; but, as 
I must act with foresight, I count on you to frus- 
trate any attempt that may be made. Take every 
step needful to protect Mademoiselle Stangerson. 
Keep a most careful watch of her room. Don't 
go to sleep, nor allow yourself one moment of re- 
pose. The man we dread is remarkably cunning — 
with a cunning that has never been equalled. If 
you keep watch his very cunning may save her; 
because it *s impossible that he should not know 
that you are watching; and knowing it, he may 
not venture/ 



" * Have you spoken of all this to Monsieur 
Stangerson? 9 

" ' No. I do not wish him to ask me, as you 
just now did, for the name of the murderer. I 
tell you all this, Monsieur Rouletabille, because 
I have great, very great, confidence in you. I 
know that you do not suspect me/ 

"The poor man spoke in jerks. He was evi- 
dently suffering. I pitied him, the more because 
I felt sure that he would rather allow himself to 
be killed than tell me who the murderer was. As 
for Mademoiselle Stangerson, I felt that she would 
rather allow herself to be murdered than denounce 
the man of The Yellow Room and of the inexplic- 
able gallery. The man must be dominating her, 
or both, by some inscrutable power. They were 
dreading nothing so much as the chance of Mon- 
sieur Stangerson knowing that his daughter was 
* held ' by her assailant. I made Monsieur Dar- 
zac understand that he had explained himself suffi- 
ciently, and that he might refrain from telling me 
any more than he had already told me. I promised 
him to watch through the night. He insisted 
that I should establish an absolutely impassable 
barrier about Mademoiselle Stangerson's cham- 
ber, around the boudoir where the nurses were 
sleeping, and around the drawing-room where, 
since the affair of the inexplicable gallery, Mon- 
sieur Stangerson had slept. In short, I was to 
put a cordon round the whole apartment. 

"From his insistence I gathered that Monsieur 
Darzac intended not only to make it impossible 
*or the expected man to reach the chamber of 
14 209 


Mademoiselle Stangerson, but to make that im- 
possibility so visibly clear that, seeing himself 
expected, he would at once go away. That was 
how I interpreted his final words when we parted: 
* You may mention your suspicions of the ex- 
pected attack to Monsieur Stangerson, to Daddy 
Jacques, to Frederic Larsan, and to anybody in 
the chateau/ 

" The poor fellow left me hardly knowing what 
he was saying. My silence and my eyes told him 
that I had guessed a large part of his secret. And, 
indeed, he must have been at his wits' end, to have 
come to me at such a time, and to abandon Made- 
moiselle Stangerson in spite of his fixed idea as to 
the coincidence. 

"When he was gone, I began to think that I 
should have to use even a greater cunning than his 
so that if the man should come that night, he 
might not for a moment suspect that his coming 
had been expected. Certainly ! I would allow him 
to get in far enough, so that, dead or alive, I 
might see his face clearly ! He must be got rid of. 
Mademoiselle Stangerson must be freed from this 
continual impending danger. 

" Yes, my boy," said RouletabiUe, after plac- 
ing his pipe on the table, and emptying his mug 
of cider, " I must see his face distinctly, so as to 
make sure to impress it on that part of my brain 
where I have drawn my circle of reasoning." 

The landlady re-appeared at that moment, 
bringing in the traditional bacon omelette. Rou- 
letabille chaffed her a little, and she took the chaff 
with the most charming good humour. 


" She is much jollier when Daddy Mathieu is in 
bed with his rheumatism," Rouletabille said to me. 

But I had eyes neither for Rouletabille nor for 
the landlady's smiles. I was entirely absorbed over 
the last words of my young friend and in thinking 
over Monsieur Robert Darzac's strange behaviour. 

When he had finished his omelette and we were 
again alone, Rouletabille continued the tale of 
his confidences. 

" When I sent you my telegram this morning," 
he said, " I had only the word of Monsieur Darzae, 
that * perhaps * the assassin would come to-night. 
I can now say that he will certainly come. I ex- 
pect him." 

"What has made you feel this certainty?" 

" I have been sure since half-past ten o'clock 
this morning that he would come. I knew that be- 
fore we saw Arthur Ranee at the window in the 

" Ah ! " I said, " But, again — what made you 
so sure? And why since half-past ten this 
morning? " 

" Because, at half-past ten, I had proof that 
Mademoiselle Stangerson was making as many 
efforts to permit of the murderer's entrance as 
Monsieur Robert Darzae had taken precautions 
against it." 

" Is that possible ! " I cried. " Have n't you 
told me that Mademoiselle Stangerson loves Mon- 
sieur Robert Darzae? " 

" I told you so because it is the truth." 

" Then do you see nothing strange — " 

* Everything in this business is strange, my 



friend ; but take my word for it, the strangeness 
you now feel is nothing to the strangeness that 's 
to come!" 

" It must be admitted, then," I said, " that Ma- 
demoiselle Stangerson and her murderer are in 
communication — at any rate in writing?" 

" Admit it, my friend, admit it ! You don't risk 
anything! I told you about the letter left on her 
table, on the night of the inexplicable gallery af- 
fair, — the letter that disappeared — into the 
pocket of Mademoiselle Stangerson. Why should 
it not have been a summons to a meeting? Might 
he not, as soon as he was sure of Darzac's absence, 
appoint the meeting for the coming night ? " 

And my friend laughed silently. There are 
moments when I ask myself if he is not laughing 
at me. 

The door of the inn opened. Rouletabille was 
on his feet so suddenly that one might have 
thought he had received an electric shock. 

" Mr. Arthur Ranee ! " he cried. 

Mr. Arthur Ranee stood before us calmly 



An Act of Mademoiselle Stangerson 

M "\7X)U remember me, Monsieur?" asked Roulet- 

I abille. 

"Perfectly!" replied Arthur Ranee. "I rec- 
ognise you as the lad at the bar. [The face of 
Rouletabille crimsoned at being called a '* lad."] 
I want to shake hands with you. You are a bright 
little fellow." 

The American extended his hand and Rouleta- 
bille, relaxing his frown, shook it and introduced 
Mr. Arthur Ranee to me. He invited him to share 
our meal. 

" No thanks. I breakfasted with Monsieur 

Arthur Ranee spoke French perfectly, — almost 
without an accent. 

" I did not expect to have the pleasure of see- 
ing you again, Monsieur. I thought you were 
to have left France the day after the reception 
at the Elysee." 

Rouletabille and I, outwardly indifferent, lis- 
tened most intently for every word the American 
would say. 

The man's purplish red face, his heavy eyelids, 
the nervous twitchings, all spoke of his addiction 
to drink. How come it that so sorry a specimen 
of a man should be so intimate with Monsieur 



Some days later, I learned from Frederic Lar- 
san — who, like ourselves, was surprised and mys- 
tified by his appearance and reception at the 
chateau — that Mr. Ranee had been an inebriate 
for about fifteen years only ; that is to say, since 
the professor and his daughter left Philadelphia. 
During the time the Stangersons lived in America 
they were very intimate with Arthur Ranee, who 
was one of the most distinguished phrenologists 
of the new world. Owing to new experiments, he 
had made enormous strides beyond the science of 
Gall and Lavater. The friendliness with which he 
was received at the Glandier may be explained by 
the fact that he had rendered Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson a great service by stopping, at the peril of his 
own life, the runaway horses of her carriage. The 
immediate result of that could, however, have been 
no more than a mere friendly association with the 
Stangersons; certainly, not a love affair. 

Frederic Larsan did not tell me where he had 
picked up this information; but he appeared to 
be quite sure of what he said. 

Had we known these facts at the time Arthur 
Ranee met us at the Donjon Inn, his presence 
at the chateau might not have puzzled us, but they 
could not have failed to increase our interest in 
the man himself. The American must have been 
at least forty-five years old. He spoke in a 
perfectly natural tone in reply to Rouletabille's 

" I put off my return to America when I heard 
of the attack on Mademoiselle Stangerson. I 
wanted to be certain the lady had not been killed, 


and I shall not go away until she is perfectly 

Arthur Ranee then took the lead in talk, paying 
no heed to some of Rouletabille's questions. He 
gave us, without our inviting him, his personal 
views on the subject of the tragedy, — views which, 
as well as I could make out, were not far from those 
held by Frederic Larsan. The American also 
thought that Robert Darzac had something to do 
with the matter. He did not mention him by name, 
but there was no room to doubt whom he meant. 
He told us he was aware of the efforts young Rou- 
letabille was making to unravel the tangled skein 
of The Yellow Room mystery. He explained that 
Monsieur Stangerson had related to him all that 
had taken place in the inexplicable gallery. He 
several times expressed his regret at Monsieur 
Darzac's absence from the chateau on all these 
occasions, and thought that Monsieur Darzac 
had done cleverly in allying himself with Monsieur 
Joseph Rouletabille, who could not fail, sooner or 
later, to discover the murderer. He spoke the 
last sentence with unconcealed irony. Then he 
rose, bowed to us, and left the inn. 

Rouletabille watched him through the window. 

"An odd fish, that!" he said. 

" Do you think he '11 pass the night at the 
Glandier? " I asked. 

To my amazement the young reporter answered 
that it was a matter of entire indifference to him 
whether he did or not. 

As to how we spent our time during the 
afternoon, all I need say is that Rouletabille led 


me to the grotto of Sainte-Genevifeve, and, all the 
time, talked of every subject but the one with which 
we were most interested. Towards evening I was 
surprised to find Rouletabille making none of 
the preparations I had expected him to make. I 
spoke to him about it when night had come on, 
and we were once more in his room. He replied 
that all his arrangements had already been made, 
and this time the murderer would not get away 
from him. 

I expressed some doubt on this, reminding him 
of his disappearance in the gallery, and suggested 
that the same phenomenon might occur again. 
He answered that he hoped it would. He de- 
sired nothing more. I did not insist, knowing 
by experience how useless that would have been. 
He told me that, with the help of the con- 
cierges, the chateau had since early dawn, been 
watched in such a way that nobody could ap- 
proach it without his knowing it, and that he had 
no concern for those who might have left it and 
remained without. 

It was then six o'clock by his watch. Rising, 
he made a sign to me to follow him, and, without 
in the least trying to conceal his movements or the 
sound of his footsteps, he led me through the gal- 
lery. We reached the * right ' gallery and came 
to the landing-place which we crossed. We then 
continued our way in the gallery of the left wing, 
passing Professor Stangerson's apartment. 

At the far end of the gallery, before coming to 
the donjon, is the room occupied by Arthur Ranee. 
We knew that, because we had seen him at the win- 


dow looking on to the court. The door of the 
room opens on to the end of the gallery, exactly 
facing the east window, at the extremity of the 
i right ' gallery, where Rouletabille had placed 
Daddy Jacques, and commands an uninterrupted 
view of the gallery from end to end of the chateau. 

" That < off-turning ' gallery," said Rouletabille, 
" I reserve for myself ; when I tell you you 'U 
come and take your place here." 

And he made me enter a little dark, triangular 
closet built in a bend of the wall, to the left of the 
door of Arthur Ranee's room. From this recess 
I could see all that occurred in the gallery as well 
as if I had been standing in front of Arthur Ranee's 
door, and I could watch that door, too. The door 
of the closet, which was to be my place of observa- 
tion, was fitted with panels of transparent glass. 
In the gallery, where all the lamps had been lit, 
it was quite light. In the closet, however, it was 
quite dark. It was a splendid place from which 
to observe and remain unobserved. 

I was soon to play the part of a spy — a com- 
mon policeman. I wonder what my leader at the 
bar would have said had he known! I was not 
altogether pleased with my duties, but I could 
not refuse Rouletabille the assistance he had begged 
me to give him. I took care not to make him see 
that I in the least objected, and for several rea- 
sons. I wanted to oblige him ; I did not wish him 
to think me a coward ; I was filled with curiosity ; 
and it was too late for me to draw back, even 
had I determined to do so. That I had not had 
these scruples sooner was because my curiosity 


had quite got the better of me. I might also urge 
that I was helping to save the life of a woman, and 
even a lawyer may do that conscientiously. 

We returned along the gallery. On reaching 
the door of Mademoiselle Stangerson's apartment, 
it opened from a push given by the steward who 
was waiting at the dinner-table. (Monsieur 
Stangerson had, for the last three days, dined with 
his daughter in the drawing-room on the first 
floor.) As the door remained open, we distinctly 
saw Mademoiselle Stangerson, taking advantage 
of the steward's absence, and while her father was 
stooping to pick up something he had let fall, pour 
the contents of a phial into Monsieur Stangerson's 


On the Watch 

THE act, which staggered me, did not appear 
to affect Rouletabille much. We returned to 
his room and, without even referring to what we 
had seen, he gave me his final instructions for the 
night. First we were to go to dinner; after 
dinner, I was to take my stand in the dark closet 
and wait there as long as it was necessary — to 
look out for what might happen. 

" If you see anything before I do," he explained, 
" you must let me know. If the man gets into the 
* right' gallery by any other way than the * off- 
turning * gallery, you will see him before I shall, be- 
cause you have a view along the whole length of 
the * right ' gallery, while I can only command a 
view of the * off-turning ' gallery. All you need 
do to let me know is to undo the cord holding the 
curtain of the * right ' gallery window, nearest to 
the dark closet. The curtain will fall of itself and 
immediately leave a square of shadow where pre- 
viously there had been a square of light. To do 
this, you need but stretch your hand out of the 
closet, I shall understand your signal perfectly.' 1 

"And then?" 

" Then you will see me coming round the corner 
of the * off-turning ' gallery." 


" What am I to do then? " 

" You will immediately come towards me, behind 
the man ; but I shall already be upon him, and shall 
have seen his face." 

I attempted a feeble smile. 

" Why do you smile? Well, you may smile while 
you have the chance, but I swear you '11 have no 
time for that a few hours from now." 

" And if the man escapes? " 

" So much the better," said Rouletabille, coolly, 
" I don't want to capture him. He may take him- 
self off any way he can. / wUl let him go — after 
I have seen his face. That 's all I want. I shall 
know afterwards what to do so that as far as 
Mademoiselle Stangerson is concerned he shall be 
dead to her even though he continues to live. If 
I took him alive, Mademoiselle Stangerson and 
Robert Darzac would, perhaps, never forgive me! 
And I wish to retain their good-will and respect. 

" Seeing, as I have just now seen, Mademoiselle 
Stangerson pour a narcotic into her father's glass, 
so that he might not be awake to interrupt the con- 
versation she is going to have with her murderer, 
you can imagine she would not be grateful to me 
if I brought the man of The Yellow Room and the 
inexplicable gallery, bound and gagged, to her 
father. I realise now that if I am to save the un- 
happy lady, I must silence the man and not capture 
him. To kill a human being is no small thing. Be- 
sides, that 's not my business, unless the man himself 
makes it my business. On the other hand, to render 
him forever silent without the lady's assent and 
confidence is to act on one's own initiative and 


assumes a knowledge of everything with nothing 
for a basis. Fortunately, my friend, I have 
guessed, no, I have reasoned it all out. All that 
I ask of the man who is coming to-night is to bring 
me his face, so that it may enter — " 

" Into the circle? " 

" Exactly ! And his face won't surprise me ! " 

" But I thought you saw his face on the night 
when you sprang into the chamber? " 

" Only imperfectly. The candle was on the floor ; 
and, his beard — " 

" Will he wear his beard this evening? " 

" I think I can say for certain that he tmff. 
But the gallery is light and, now, I know — or — 
at least, my brain knows — and my eyes will 

" If we are here only to see him and let him 
escape, why are we armed? " 

" Because, if the man of The Yellow Room and 
the inexplicable gallery knows that / know, he is 
capable of doing anything! We should then have 
to defend ourselves." 

" And you are sure he will come to-night? " 

" As sure as that you are standing there ! This 
morning, at half-past ten o'clock, Mademoiselle 
Stangerson, in the cleverest way in the world, ar- 
ranged to have no nurses to-night. She gave them 
leave of absence for twenty-four hours, under some 
plausible pretexts, and did not desire anybody to 
be with her but her father, while they are away. 
Her father, who is to sleep in the boudoir, has 
gladly consented to the arrangement. Darzac's 
departure and what he told me, as well as the ex- 


traordinary precautions Mademoiselle Stangerson 
is taking to be alone to-night leaves me no room 
for doubt. She has prepared the way for the 
coming of the man whom Darzac dreads." 

"That lawful!" 

"It is!" 

" And what we saw her do was done to send her 
father to sleep? " 


"Then there are but two of us for to-night's 
work? " 

" Four ; the concierge and his wife will watch 
at all hazards. I don't set much value on them 
before — but the concierge may be useful after — 
if there *s to be any killing ! " 

" Then you think there may be? " 

" If he wishes it." 

" Why have n't you brought in Daddy Jacques? 
— Have you made no use of him to-day? " 

" No," replied Rouletabille sharply. 

I kept silence for awhile, then, anxious to know 
his thoughts, I asked him point blank: 

" Why not tell Arthur Ranee? — He may be of 
great assistance to us ? " 

" Oh ! " said Rouletabille crossly, " then you 
want to let everybody into Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son's secrets? — Come, let us go to dinner; it is 
time. This evening we dine in Frederic Larsan's 
room, — at least, if he is not on the heels of 
Darzac. He sticks to him like a leech. But, any- 
how, if he is not there now, I am quite sure he 
will be, to-night ! He *s the One I am going to 
knock over ! " 



At this moment we heard a noise in the room 
near us. 

" It must be he," said Rouletabille. 

" I forgot to ask you," I said, " if we are to 
make any allusion to to-night's business when we 
are with this policeman. I take it we are not. Is 
that so?" 

" Evidently. We are going to operate alone, 
on our own personal account." 

" So that all the glory will be ours? " 

Rouletabille laughed. 

We dined with Frederic Larsan in his room. 
He told us he had just come in and invited us to be 
seated at table. We ate our dinner in the best of 
humours, and I had no difficulty in appreciating 
the feelings of certainty which both Rouletabille 
and Larsan felt. Rouletabille told the great Fred 
that I had come on a chance visit, and that he had 
asked me to stay and help him in the heavy 
batch of writing he had to get through for the 
44 Epoque." I was going back to Paris, he said, 
by the eleven o'clock train, taking his " copy," 
which took a story form, recounting the principal 
episodes in the mysteries of the Glandier. Larsan 
smiled at the explanation like a man who was not 
fooled and politely refrains from making the slight- 
est remark on matters which did not concern him. 

With infinite precautions as to the words they 
used, and even as to the tones of their voices, 
Larsan and Rouletabille discussed, for a long time, 
Mr. Arthur Ranee's appearance at the chateau, 
and his past in America, about which they ex- 
pressed a desire to know more, at any rate, so far 


as his relations with the Stangersons. At one time, 
Larsan, who appeared to me to be unwell, said, 
with an effort: 

44 1 think. Monsieur Rouletabille, that we 've not 
much more to do at the Glandier, and that W€ 
sha* n't sleep here many more nights." 

44 1 think so, too, Monsieur Fred." 

44 Then you think the conclusion of the mattct 
has been reached? " 

44 1 think, indeed, that we hare nothing more t# 
find out," replied Rouletabille. 

44 Have you found your criminal?" asked LarsaBr 

44 Have you?" 

44 Yes." 

44 So have I," said Rouletabille. 

44 Can it be the same man? " 

44 1 don't know if you have swerved from your 
original idea," said the young reporter. Then he 
added, with emphasis : " Monsieur Darzac is an 
honest man ! " 

44 Are you sure of that? " asked Larsan. 44 Well, 
I am sure he is not. So it 's a fight then? " 

44 Yes, it is a fight. But I shall beat you, Mon- 
sieur Frederic Larsan." 

44 Youth never doubts anything," said the great 
Fred laughingly, and held out his hand to me by 
way of conclusion. 

RouletabiUVs answer came like an echo: — 

44 Not anything!" 

Suddenly Larsan, who had risen to wish us good- 
night, pressed both his hands to his chest and stag- 
gered. He was obliged to lean on Rouletabille for 
support, and to save himself from falling. 


"Oh! Oh!" he cried. "What is the matter 
with me? — Have I been poisoned?" 

He looked at us with haggard eyes. We ques- 
tioned him vainly ; he did not answer us. He had 
sunk into an armchair and we could get not a 
word from him. We were extremely distressed, 
both on his account and on our own, for we had 
partaken of all the dishes he had eaten. He seemed 
to be out of pain; but his heavy head had fallen 
on his shoulder and his eyelids were tightly closed. 
Rouletabille bent over him, listening for the beat- 
ings of the heart. 

My friend's face, however, when he stood up, 
was as calm as it had been a moment before 

" He is asleep," he said. 

He led me to his chamber, after closing Larsan's 

"The drug?" I asked. "Does Mademoiselle 
Stangerson wish to put everybody to sleep, to- 

"Perhaps," replied Rouletabille; but I could 
see he was thinking of something else. 

" But what about us? " I exclaimed. " How do 
we know that we have not been drugged? " 

"Do you feel indisposed?" Rouletabille asked 
me coolly. 

" Not in the least." 

" Do you feel any inclination to go to sleep? " 

" None whatever." 

"Well, then, my friend, smoke this excellent 

And he handed me a choice Havana, one Mon- 
15 225 


sieur Darzac had given him, while he lit his briar- 
wood — his eternal briarwood. 

We remained in his room until about ten o'clock 
without a word passing between us. Buried in an 
armchair Rouletabille sat and smoked steadily, his 
brow in thought and a far-away look in his eyes. 
On the stroke of ten he took off his boots and 
signed to me to do the same. Standing in our 
socks he said, in so low a tone that I guessed, rather 
than heard, the word: 

" Revolver." 

I drew my revolver from my jacket pocket. 

"Cock it!" he said. 

I did as he directed. 

Then moving towards the door of his room, 
he opened it with infinite precaution ; it made no 
sound. We were in the "off-turning" gallery. 
Rouletabille made another sign to me which I 
understood to mean that I was to take up my post 
in the dark closet. 

When I was some distance from him, he rejoined 
me and embraced me; and then I saw him, with 
the same precaution, return to his room. Aston- 
ished by his embrace, and somewhat disquieted by 
it, I arrived at the right gallery without difficulty, 
crossing the landing-place, and reaching the dark 

Before entering it I examined the curtain-cord 
of the window and found that I had only to release 
it from its fastening with my fingers for the cur- 
tain to fall by its own weight and hide the square 
of light from Rouletabille — the signal agreed 
upon. The sound of a footstep made me halt be- 


fore Arthur Ranee's door. He was not yet in bed, 
then! How was it that, being in the chateau, he 
had not dined with Monsieur Stangerson and his 
daughter? I had not seen him at table with them, 
at the moment when we looked in. 

I retired into the dark closet. I found myself 
perfectly situated. I could see along the whole 
length of the gallery. Nothing, absolutely noth- 
ing could pass there without my seeing it. But 
what was going to pass there? Rouletabille's em- 
brace came back to my mind. I argued that people 
don't part from each other in that way unless on 
an important or dangerous occasion. Was I then 
in danger? 

My hand closed on the butt of my revolver and 
I waited. I am not a hero; but neither am I a 

I waited about an hour, and during all that 
time I saw nothing unusual. The rain, which had 
begun to come down strongly towards nine o'clock, 
had now ceased. 

My friend had told me that, probably, nothing 
would occur before midnight or one o'clock in the 
morning. It was not more than half-past eleven, 
however, when I heard the door of Arthur Ranee's 
room open very slowly. The door remained open 
• for a minute which seemed to me a long time. As 
' it opened into the gallery, that is to say, outwards, 
I could not see what was passing in the room be- 
hind the door. 

At that moment I noticed a strange sound, three 
times repeated, coming from the park. Ordinarily 
I should not have attached any more importance 


to it than I would to the noise of cats on the roof. 
But the third time, the mew was so sharp and 
penetrating that I remembered what I had heard 
about the cry of the Bete du bon Dieu. As the 
cry had accompanied all the events at the Glandier, 
I could not refrain from shuddering at the thought. 

Directly afterwards I saw a man appear on the 
outside of the door, and close it after him. At 
first I could not recognise him, for his back was 
towards me and he was bending oyer a ratber 
bulky package. When he had closed the door and 
picked up the package, he turned towards the dark 
closet, and then I saw who he was. He was the 
forest-keeper, the Green Man. He was wearing 
the same costume that he had worn when I first 
saw him on the road in front of the Donjon Inn. 
There was no doubt about his being the keeper. 
As the cry of the Bete du Bon Dieu came for the 
third time, he put down the package and went to 
the second window, counting from the dark closet. 
I dared not risk making any movement, fearing I 
might betray my presence. 

Arrived at the window, he peered out on to the 
park. The night was now light, the moon showing 
at intervals. The Green Man raised his arms twice, 
making signs which I did not understand; then, 
leaving the window, he again took up his pack- 
age and moved along the gallery towards the 

Rouletabille had instructed me to undo the cur- 
tain-cord when I saw anything. Was Rouletabille 
expecting this? It was not my business to ques- 
tion. All I had to do was obey instructions. I un- 


fastened the window-cord; my heart beating the 
while as if it would burst. The man reached the 
landing-place, but, to my utter surprise — I had 
expected to see him continue to pass along the 
gallery — I saw him descend the stairs leading to 
the vestibule. 

What was I to do? I looked stupidly at the 
heavy curtain which had shut the light from the 
window. The signal had been given, and I did not 
see Rouletabille appear at the corner of the off- 
turning gallery. Nobody appeared. I was ex- 
ceedingly perplexed. Half an hour passed, an age 
to me. What was I to do now, even if I saw some- 
thing? The signal once given I could not give it 
a second time. To venture into the gallery might 
upset all Rouletabille's plans. After all, I had 
nothing to reproach myself with, and if something 
had happened that my friend had not expected he 
could only blame himself. Unable to be of any 
further assistance to him by means of a signal, I 
left the dark closet and, still in my socks, picked 
my steps and made my way to the " off-turning " 

There was no one there. I went to the door of 
Rouletabille's room and listened. I could hear 
nothing. I knocked gently. There was no answer. 
I turned the door-handle and the door opened. I 
entered. Rouletabille lay extended at full length 
on the floor. 



The Incredible Body 

1BENT in great anxiety over the body of the 
reporter and had the joy to find that he was 
deeply sleeping, the same unhealthy sleep that I 
had seen fall upon Frederic Larsan. He had suc- 
cumbed to the influence of the same drug that had 
been mixed with our food. How was it then, that 
I, also, had not been overcome by it? I reflected 
that the drug must have been put into our wine; 
because that would explain my condition. / never 
drink when eating. Naturally inclined to obesity, 
I am restricted to a dry diet. I shook Rouletabille, 
but could not succeed in waking him. This, no 
doubt, was the work of Mademoiselle Stangerson. 

She had certainly thought it necessary to guard 
herself against this young man as well as her 
father. I recalled that the steward, in serving us, 
had recommended an excellent Chablis which, no 
doubt, had come from the professor's table. 

More than a quarter of an hour passed. I re- 
solved, under the pressing circumstances, to resort 
to extreme measures. I threw a pitcher of cold 
water over Rouletabille's head. He opened his 
eyes. I beat his face, and raised him up. I felt 
him stiffen in my arms and heard him murmur: 
" Go on, go on ; but don't make any noise." I 


pinched him and shook him until he was able to 
stand up. We were saved ! 

" They sent me to sleep," he said. " Ah ! I 
passed an awful quarter of an hour before giving 
way. But it is over now. Don't leave me." 

He had no sooner uttered those words than we 
were thrilled by a frightful cry that rang through 
the chateau, — a veritable death cry. 

" Malheur ! " roared Rouletabille ; " we shall be 
too late!" 

He tried to rush to the door, but he was too 
dazed, and fell against the wall. I was already in 
the gallery, revolver in hand, rushing like a mad- 
man towards Mademoiselle Stangerson's room. 
The moment I arrived at the intersection of the 
" off-turning " gallery and the " right " gallery, 
I saw a figure leaving her apartment, which, in 
a few strides had reached the landing-place. 

I was not master of myself. I fired. The report 
from the revolver made a deafening noise; but 
the man continued his flight down the stairs. I 
ran behind him, shouting : " Stop ! — stop ! or I 
will kill you ! " As I rushed after him down the 
stairs, I came face to face with Arthur Ranee com- 
ing from the left wing of the chateau, yelling: 
"What is it? What is it? " We arrived almost 
at the same time at the foot of the staircase. The 
window of the vestibule was open. We distinctly 
saw the form of a man running away. Instinc- 
tively we fired our revolvers in his direction. He 
was not more than ten paces in front of us; he 
staggered and we thought he was going to fall. 
We had sprung out of the window, but the man 


dashed off with renewed vigour. I was in my 
socks, and the American was barefooted. There 
being no hope of overtaking him, we fired our last 
cartridges at him. But he still kept on running, 
going along the right side of the court towards 
the end of the right wing of the chateau, which had 
no other outlet than the door of the little chamber 
occupied by the forest-keeper. 

The man, though he was evidently wounded by 
our bullets, was now twenty yards ahead of us. 
Suddenly, behind us, and above our heads, a win- 
dow in the gallery opened and we heard the voice 
of Rouletabille crying out desperately : — 

" Fire, Bernier ! — Fire ! " 

At that moment the clear moonlight night was 
further lit by a broad flash. By its light we saw 
Daddy Bernier with his gun on the threshold of 
the donjon door. 

He had taken good aim. The shadow fell. But 
as it had reached the end of the right wing of the 
chateau, it fell on the other side of the angle of 
the building; that is to say, we saw it about to 
fall, but not the actual sinking to the ground. 
Bernier, Arthur Ranee and myself reached the 
other side twenty seconds later. The shadow was 
lying dead at our feet. 

Aroused from his lethargy by the cries and 
reports, Larsan opened the window of his chamber 
and called out to us. Rouletabille, quite awake 
now, joined us at the same moment, and I cried 
out to him : 

"He is dead !— is dead !" 

" So much the better," he said. " Take him 


into the vestibule of the chateau." Then as if on 
second thought, he said : " No ! — no ! Let us 
put him in his own room." 

Rouletabille knocked at the door. Nobody 
answered. Naturally, this did not surprise me. 

" He is evidently not there, otherwise he would 
have come out," said the reporter. " Let us carry ' 
him to the vestibule then." 

Since reaching the dead shadow, a thick cloud 
had covered the moon and darkened the night, 60 
that we were unable to make out the features. 
Daddy Jacques, who had now joined us, helped us 
to carry the body into the vestibule, where we laid 
it down on the lower step of the stairs. On the 
way, I had felt my hands wet from the warm blood 
flowing from the wounds. 

Daddy Jacques flew to the kitchen and returned 
with a lantern. He held it close to the face of the 
dead shadow, and we recognised the keeper, the 
man called by the landlord of the Donjon Inn the 
Green Man, whom, an hour earlier, I had seen 
come out of Arthur Ranee's chamber carrying a 
parcel. But what I had seen I could only tell 
Rouletabille later, when we were alone. 

Rouletabille and Frederic Larsan experienced a 
cruel disappointment at the result of the night's 
adventure. They could only look in consternation 
and stupefaction at the body of the Green Man. 

Daddy Jacques showed a stupidly sorrowful 

face and with silly lamentations kept repeating 

that we were mistaken — the keeper could not be 

the assailant. We were obliged to compel him to 



be quiet. He could not have shown greater grief 
had the body been that of his own son. I noticed, 
while all the rest of us were more or less undressed 
and barefooted, that he was fully clothed. 

Rouletabille had not left the body. Kneeling 
on the flagstones by the light of Daddy Jacques's 
lantern he removed the clothes from the body and 
laid bare its breast. Then snatching the lantern 
from Daddy Jacques, he held it over the corpse 
and saw a gaping wound. Rising suddenly he 
exclaimed in a voice filled with savage irony: — 

" The man you believe to have been shot was 
killed by the stab of a knife in his heart ! " 

I thought Rouletabille had gone mad ; but, bend- 
ing over the body, I quickly satisfied myself that 
Rouletabille was right. Not a sign of a bullet 
anywhere — the wound, evidently made by a sharp 
blade, had penetrated the heart. 



The Double Scent 

1HAD hardly recovered from the surprise inte 
which this new discovery had plunged me, 
when Rouletabille touched me on the shoulder and 
asked me to follow him into his room. 

" What are we going to do there? " 

" To think the matter over." 

I confess I was in no condition for doing much 
thinking, nor could I understand how Rouletabille 
could so control himself as to be able calmly to 
sit down for reflection when he must have known 
that Mademoiselle Stangerson was at that moment 
almost on the point of death. But his self-control 
was more than I could explain. Closing the door 
of his room, he motioned me to a chair and, seating 
himself before me, took out his pipe. We sat there 
for some time in silence and then I fell asleep. 

When I awoke it was daylight. It was eight 
o'clock by my watch. Rouletabille was no longer 
in the room. I rose to go out when the door opened 
and my friend re-entered. He had evidently lost 
no time. 

"How about Mademoiselle Stangerson? " I 
asked him. 

"Her condition, though very alarming, is not 



" When did you leave this room? " 

" Towards dawn." 

" I guess you have been hard at work? " 


" Have you found out anything? " 

" Two sets of footprints ! " 

"Do they explain anything?" 

" Yes." 

" Have they anything to do with the mystery 
of the keeper's body?" 

" Yes ; the mystery is no longer a mystery. This 
morning, walking round the chateau, I found two 
distinct sets of footprints, made at the same time, 
last night. They were made by two persons walk- 
ing side by side. I followed them from the court 
towards the oak grove. Larsan joined me. They 
were the same kind of footprints as were made at 
the time of the assault in The Yellow Room — one 
set was from clumsy boots and the other was made 
by neat ones, except that the big toe of one of the 
«ets was of a different size from the one measured in 
The Yellow Room incident. I compared the marks 
with the paper patterns I had previously made. 

" Still following the tracks of the prints, Lar- 
san and I passed out of the oak grove and reached 
the border of the lake. There they turned off to 
a little path leading to the high road to Epinay 
where we lost the traces in the newly macadamised 

"We went back to the chateau and parted at 

the courtyard. We met again, however, in Daddy 

Jacques's room to which our separate trains of 

thinking had led us both. We found the old ser- 



vant in bed. His clothes on the chair were wet 
through and his boots very muddy. He certainly 
did not get into that state in helping us to carry 
the body of the keeper. It was not raining then. 
Then his face showed extreme fatigue and he 
looked at us out of terror-stricken eyes. 

" On our first questioning him he told us that 
he had gone to bed immediately after the doctor 
had arrived. On pressing him, however, for it was 
evident to us he was not speaking the truth, he 
confessed that he had been away from the chateau. 
He explained his absence by saying that he had a 
headache and went out into the fresh air, but had 
gone no further than the oak grove. When we 
then* described to him the whole route he had fol- 
lowed, he sat up in bed trembling. 

" * And you were not alone ! ' cried Larsan. 

" * Did you see it then? ' gasped Daddy Jacques. 

"'What?' I asked. 

" * The phantom — the black phantom ! ' 

" Then he told us that for several nights he had 
seen what he kept calling the black phantom. It 
came into the park at the stroke of midnight and 
glided stealthily through the trees; it appeared 
to him to pass through the trunks of the trees. 
Twice he had seen it from his window, by the light 
of the moon, and had risen and followed the 
strange apparition. The night before last he 
had almost overtaken it; but it had vanished at 
the corner of the donjon. Last night, however, 
he had not left the chateau, his mind being dis- 
turbed by a presentiment that some new crime 
would be attempted. Suddenly he saw the black 



phantom rush out from somewhere in the middle 
of the court. He followed it to the lake and to 
the high road to Epinay, where the phantom sud- 
denly disappeared. 

" * Did you see his face? * demanded Larsan. 

" * No ! — I saw nothing but black veils.' 

" * Did you go out after what passed on the 
gallery? ' 

" ' I could not ! — I was terrified.' 

" * Daddy Jacques,' I said, in a threatening 
voice, ' you did not follow it ; you and the phantom 
walked to Epinay together — arm in arm ! ' 

" * No ! * he cried, turning his eyes away, * I did 
not. It came on to pour, and — I turned back. 
I don't know what became of the black phantom.' 

" We left him, and when we were outside I turned 
to Larsan, looking him full in the face, and put my 
question suddenly to take him off his guard: 

" * An accomplice? ' 

"'How can I tell?' he replied, shrugging his 
shoulders. ' You can't be sure of anything in a 
case like this. Twenty-four hours ago I would 
have sworn that there was no accomplice!' He 
left me saying he was off to Epinay." 

" Well, what do you make of it? " I asked Rou- 
letabille, after he had ended his recital. " Per- 
sonally I am utterly in the dark. I can't make 
anything out of it. What do you gather? " 

" Everything ! Everything ! " he exclaimed. 
" But," he said abruptly, " let 's find out further 
about Mademoiselle Stangerson." 


Rouletabille Knows the Two Halves of the 

for the second time almost murdered. Un- 
fortunately, she was in too weak a state to bear the 
severer injuries of this second attack as well as 
she had those of the first. She had received three 
wounds in the breast from the murderer's knife, 
and she lay long between life and death. Her 
strong physique, however, saved her; but though 
she recovered physically it was found that her mind 
had been affected. The slightest allusion to the 
terrible incident sent her into delirium, and the ar- 
rest of Robert Darzac which followed on the day 
following the tragic death of the keeper seemed to 
sink her fine intelligence into complete melancholia. 
Robert Darzac arrived at the chateau towards 
half-past nine. I saw him hurrying through the 
park, his hair and clothes in disorder and his face 
a deadly white. Rouletabille and I were looking 
out of a window in the gallery. He saw us, and 
gave a despairing cry : "Tm too late ! " 
Rouletabille answered : " She lives ! " 
A minute later Darzac had gone into Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson's room and, through the door, 
we could hear his heart-rending sobs. 



" There *s a fate about this place ! " groaned 
Rouletabille. " Some infernal gods must be watch- 
ing over the misfortunes of this family ! — If I 
had not been drugged, I should have saved Made- 
moiselle Stangerson. I should have silenced him for- 
ever. And the keeper would not have been killed ! " 

Monsieur Darzac came in to speak with us. His 
distress was terrible. Rouletabille told him every- 
thing: his preparations for Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson's safety; his plans for either capturing or 
for disposing of the assailant for ever; and how 
he would have succeeded had it not been for the 

"If only you had trusted me!" said the 
young man, in a low tone, " if you had but begged 
Mademoiselle Stangerson to confide in me ! — But, 
then, everybody here distrusts everybody else, 
the daughter distrusts her father, and even her 
lover. While you ask me to protect her she is 
doing all she can to frustrate me. That was why 
I came on the scene too late ! " 

At Monsieur Robert Darzac's request Rouleta- 
bille described the whole scene. Leaning on the 
wall, to prevent himself from falling, he had made 
his way to Mademoiselle Stangerson's room, while 
we were running after the supposed murderer. The 
ante-room door was open and when he entered 
he found Mademoiselle Stangerson lying partly 
thrown over the desk. Her dressing-gown was 
dyed with the blood flowing from her bosom. Still 
under the influence of the drug, he felt he was walk- 
ing in a horrible nightmare. 


He went back to the gallery automatically, 
opened a window, shouted his order to fire, and then 
returned to the room. He crossed the deserted bou- 
doir, entered the drawing-room, and tried to rouse 
Monsieur Stangerson who was lying on a sofa. 
Monsieur Stangerson rose stupidly and let himself 
be drawn by Rouletabille into the room where, on 
seeing his daughter's body, he uttered a heart- 
rending cry. Both united their feeble strength 
and carried her to her bed. 

On his way to rejoin us Rouletabille passed by 
the desk. On the floor, near it, he saw a large 
packet. He knelt down and, finding the wrapper 
loose, he examined it, and made out an enormous 
quantity of papers and photographs. On one of 
the papers he read : " New differential electroscopic 
condenser. Fundamental properties of substance 
intermediary between ponderable matter and im- 
ponderable ether." Strange irony of fate that the 
professor's precious papers should be restored to 
him at the very time when an attempt was being 
made to deprive him of his daughter's life ! What 
are papers worth to him now? 


The morning following that awful night saw 
Monsieur de Marquet once more at the chateau, 
with his Registrar and gendarmes. Of course we 
were all questioned. Rouletabille and I had already 
agreed on what to say. I kept back any infor- 
mation as to my being in the dark closet and said 
nothing about the drugging. We did not wish to 
suggest in any way that Mademoiselle Stangerson 
had been expecting her nocturnal visitor. The 
16 241 


poor woman might, perhaps, never recover, and it 
was none of our business to lift the veil of a secret 
the preservation of which she had paid for so 

Arthur Ranee told everybody, in a manner so 
natural that it astonished me, that he had last seen 
the keeper towards eleven o'clock of that fatal 
night. He had come for his valise he said, which 
he was to take for him early next morning to 
the Saint-Michel station; and had been kept out 
late running after poachers. Arthur Ranee had, 
indeed, intended to leave the chateau and, accord- 
ing to his habit, to walk to the station. 

Monsieur Stangerson confirmed what Ranee had 
said, adding that he had not asked Ranee to dine 
with him because his friend had taken his final 
leave of them both earlier in the evening. Mon- 
sieur Ranee had had tea served him in his room, 
because he had complained of a slight indisposition. 

Bernier testified, instructed by Rouletabille, 
that the keeper had ordered him to meet at a spot 
near the oak grove, for the purpose of looking out 
for poachers. Finding that the keeper did not 
keep his appointment, he, Bernier, had gone in 
search of him. He had almost arrived at the 
donjon, when he saw a figure running swiftly in 
a direction opposite to him, towards the right wing 
of the chateau. He heard revolver shots from 
behind the figure and saw Rouletabille at one of 
the gallery windows. He heard Rouletabille call 
out to him to fire, and he had fired. He believed 
he had killed the man until he learned, after Rou- 
letabille had uncovered the body, that the man had 


icKcd from a knife thrustv Who had given it he could 
not imagine. " Nobody could have been near the 
spot without my seeing him." When the examin- 
ing magistrate reminded him that the spot where 
the body was found was very dark and that he him- 
self had not been able to recognise the keeper before 
firing, Daddy Bernier replied that neither had they 
seen the other body ; nor had they found it. In the 
narrow court where five people were standing it 
would have been strange if the other body, had it 
been there, could have escaped. The only door 
that opened into the court was that of the keeper's 
room, and that door was closed, and the key of it 
was found in the keeper's pocket. 

However that might be, the examining magis- 
trate did not pursue his inquiry further in this 
direction. He was evidently convinced that wa 
had missed the man we were chasing and we had 
come upon the keeper's body in our chase. Thii 
matter of the keeper was another matter entirely. 
He wanted to satisfy himself about that without 
any further delay. Probably it chimed in with tht 
conclusions he had already arrived at as to the 
keeper and his intrigues with the wife of Mathiev 
the landlord of the Donjon Inn. This Mathiei^ 
later in the afternoon, was arrested and taken to 
Corbeil in spite of his rheumatism. He had beep 
heard to threaten the keeper, and though no evi- 
dence against him had been found at his inn, the 
evidence of carters who had heard the threats was 
enough to justify his retention. 

Th& examination had proceeded thus far when, 
to our surprise, Fr6d£ric Larsan returned to the 


chateau. He was accompanied by one of the em- 
ployes of the railway. At that moment Ranee and 
I were in the vestibule discussing Mathieu's guilt 
or innocence, while Rouletabille stood apart buried, 
apparently, in thought. The examining magis- 
trate and his Registrar were in the little green 
drawing-room, while Darzac was with the doctor 
and Stangerson in the lady's chamber. As Frederic 
Larsan entered the vestibule with the railway em- 
ploye*, Rouletabille and I at once recognised him 
by the small blond beard. We exchanged meaning 
glances. Larsan had himself announced to the 
examining magistrate by the gendarme and en- 
tered with the railway servant as Daddy Jacques 
came out. Some ten minutes went by during which 
Rouletabille appeared extremely impatient. The 
door of the drawing-room was then opened and we 
heard the magistrate calling to the gendarme who 
entered. Presently he came out, mounted the stairs 
and, coming back shortly, went in to the magistrate 
and said: — 

" Monsieur, — Monsieur Robert Darzac will not 
come ! " 

" What ! Not come ! " cried Monsieur de 

" He says he cannot leave Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson in her present state." 

" Very well," said Monsieur de Marquet ; " then 
we '11 go to him." 

Monsieur de Marquet and the gendarme mounted 
the stairs. He made a sign to Larsan and the rail- 
way employe to follow. Rouletabille and I went 
along too. 



On reaching the door of Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son's chamber, Monsieur de Marquet knocked. A 
chambermaid appeared. It was Sylvia, with her 
hair all in disorder and consternation showing on 
her face. 

" Is Monsieur Stangerson within? " asked fche 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

" Tell him that I wish to speak with him." 

Stangerson came out. His appearance w\aa 
wretched in the extreme. 

"What do you want?" he demanded of the 
magistrate. " May I not be left in peace, 
Monsieur? " 

" Monsieur," said the magistrate, " it is abso- 
lutely necessary that I should see Monsieur Dar- 
zac at once. If you cannot induce him to come, I 
shall be compelled to use the help of the law." 

The professor made no reply. He looked at us 
all like a man being led to execution, and then went 
back into the room. 

Almost immediately after Monsieur Robert Dar- 
zac came out. He was very pale. He looked at us 
and, his eyes falling on the railway servant, his 
features stiffened and he could hardly repress a 

We were all much moved by the appearance of 
the man. We felt that what was about to happen 
would decide the fate of Monsieur Robert Darzac. 
Fr&teric Larsan's face alone was radiant, showing 
a joy as of a dog that had at last got its prey. 

Pointing to the railway servant, Monsieur de 
Marquet said to Monsieur Darzac: 


u Do you recognise this man, Monsieur? " 

u I do," said Monsieur Darzac, in a tone which 
he vainly tried to make firm. " He is an employ^ 
at the station at Epinay-sur-Orge." 

" This young man," went on Monsieur de Mar- 
quet, " affirms that he saw you get off the train at 
Epinay-sur-Orge — " 

" That night," said Monsieur Darzac, interrupt- 
ing, " at half -past ten — it is quite true." 

An interval of silence followed. 

" Monsieur Darzac," the magistrate went on in 
a tone of deep emotion, " Monsieur Darzac, what 
were you doing that night, at Epinay-sur-Orge — 
at that time? " 

Monsieur Darzac remained silent, simply closing 
his eyes. 

" Monsieur Darzac," insisted Monsieur de Mar- 
quet, " can you tell me how you employed your 
time, that night? " 

Monsieur Darzac opened his eyes. He seemed to 
have recovered his self-control. 

" No, Monsieur." 

" Think, Monsieur ! for, if you persist in your 
strange refusal, I shall be under the painful neces- 
sity of keeping you at my disposition." 

" I refuse." 

" Monsieur Darzac ! — in the name of the law, 
I arrest you ! " 

The magistrate had no sooner pronounced 
the words than I saw Rouletabille move quickly 
towards Monsieur Darzac. He would certainly 
have spoken to him, but Darzac, by a gesture, 
held him off. As the gendarme approached his 


prisoner, a despairing cry rang through the 
room : — 

"Robert! — Robert !" 

We recognised the voice of Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson. We all shuddered. Larsan himself turned 
pale. Monsieur Darzac, in response to the cry, 
had flown back into the room. 

The magistrate, the gendarme, and Larsan fol- 
lowed closely after. Rouletabille and I remained 
on the threshold. It was a heart-breaking sight 
that met our eyes. Mademoiselle Stangerson, with 
a face of deathly pallor, had risen on her bed, in 
spite of the restraining efforts of two doctors and 
her father. She was holding out her trembling 
arms towards Robert Darzac on whom Larsan and 
the gendarme had laid hands. Her distended eyes 
saw — she understood — her lips seemed to form 
a word, but nobody made it out ; and she fell back 

Monsieur Darzac was hurried out of the room 
and placed in the vestibule to wait for the vehicle 
Larsan had gone to fetch. We were all overcome 
by emotion and even Monsieur de Marquet had 
tears in his eyes. Rouletabille took advantage of 
the opportunity to say to Monsieur Darzac : — 

" Are you going to put in any defense? " 

" No ! " replied the prisoner. 

" Very well, then I will, Monsieur." 

" You cannot do it," said the unhappy man with 
a faint smile. 

"I can — and I will." 

Rouletabille's voice had in it a strange strength 
and confidence. 



" I can do it, Monsieur Robert Darzac, because 
I know more than you do ! " 

" Come ! Come ! " murmured Darzac, almost 

" Have no fear ! I shall know only what will 
benefit you." 

" You must know nothing, young man, if you 
want me to be grateful" 

Rouletabille shook his head, going close up to 

" Listen to what I am about to say," he said in 
a low tone, " and let it give you confidence. You 
do not know the name of the murderer. Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson knows it; but only half of it; 
but / know his two halves; / know the whole 

Robert Darzac opened his eyes, with a look that 
showed he had not understood a word of what Rou- 
letabille had said to him. At that moment the con- 
veyance arrived, driven by Frederic Larsan. Dar- 
zac and the gendarme entered it, Larsan remaining 
on the driver's seat. The prisoner was taken to 


Rouletabille Goes on a Journey 

THAT same evening Rouletabille and I left the 
Glandier. We were very glad to get away 
and there was nothing more to keep us there. I 
declared my intention to give up the whole matter. 
It had been too much for me. Rouletabille, with a 
friendly tap on my shoulder, confessed that he had 
nothing more to learn at the Glandier; he had 
learned there all it had fco tell him. We reached 
Paris about eight o'clock, dined, and then, tired 
out, we separated, agreeing to meet the next morn- 
ing at my rooms. 

Rouletabille arrived next day at the hour agreed 
on. He was dressed in a suit of English tweed, 
with an ulster on his arm, and a valise in his hand. 
Evidently he had prepared himself for a journey. 

" How long shall you be away? " I asked. 

" A month or two," he said. " It all depends." 

I asked him no more questions. 

" Do you know," he asked, " what the word was 
that Mademoiselle Stangerson tried to say before 
she fainted? " 

* No — nobody heard it." 

" / heard it ! " replied Rouletabille. " She said 

" Do you think Darzac will speak? * 



I was about to make some further observations, 
but he wrung my hand warmly and wished me 
good-bye. I had only time to ask him one ques- 
tion before he left. 

" Are you not afraid that other attempts may 
be made while you 're away? " 

" No ! Not now that Darzac is in prison," he 

With this strange remark he left. I was not to 
see him again until the day of Darzac's trial at the 
court when he appeared to explain the inexplicable* 



In Which Joseph RouletabiUe is Awaited 
with Impatience 

ON the 15th of January, that is to say, two 
months and a half after the tragic events I 
have narrated, the " Epoque " printed, as the first 
column of the front page, the following sensational 
article : — 

" The Seine-et-Oise jury is summoned to-day to 
give its verdict on one of the most mysterious 
affairs in the annals of crime. There never has 
been a case with so many obscure, incomprehensible, 
and inexplicable points. And yet the prosecution 
has not hesitated to put into the prisoner's dock 
a man who is respected, esteemed, and loved by all 
who knew him — a young savant, the hope of 
French science, whose whole life has been devoted 
to knowledge and truth. When Paris heard of 
Monsieur Robert Darzac's arrest a unanimous cry 
of protest arose from all sides. The whole Sor- , 
bonne, disgraced by this act of the examining 
magistrate, asserted its belief in the innocence 
of Mademoiselle Stangerson's fianc£. Monsieur 
Stangerson was loud in his denunciation of this 
miscarriage of justice. There is no doubt in the 
mind of anybody that could the victim speak she 
would claim from the jurors of Seine-et-Oise the 


man she wishes to make her husband and whom the 
prosecution would send to the scaffold. It is to 
be hoped that Mademoiselle Stangerson will shortly 
recover her reason, which has been temporarily un- 
hinged by the horrible mystery at the Glandier. 
The question before the jury is the one we pro- 
pose to deal with this very day. 

" We have decided not to permit twelve worthy 
men to commit a disgraceful miscarriage of justice. 
We confess that the remarkable coincidences, the 
many convicting evidences, and the inexplicable 
silence on the part of the accused, as well as a 
total absence of any evidence for an alibi, were 
enough to warrant the bench of judges in assum- 
ing that in this man alone was centered the truth 
of the affair. The evidences are, in appearance, 
so overwhelming against Monsieur Robert Darzac 
that a detective so well informed, so intelligent, 
and generally so successful, as Monsieur Frederic 
Larsan, may be excused for having been misled by 
them. Up to now everything has gone against 
Monsieur Robert Darzac in the magisterial in- 
quiry. To-day, however, we are going to defend 
him before the jury, and we are going to bring to 
the witness stand a light that will illumine the 
whole mystery of the Glandier. For we possess 
the truth. 

" If we have not spoken sooner, it is because the 
interests of certain parties in the case demand 
that we should take that course. Our readers may 
remember the unsigned reports we published re- 
lating to the * Left foot of the Rue Oberkampf ,' at 
the time of the famous robbery of the Credit Uni- 


versel, and the famous case of the ' Gold Ingots of 
the Mint.' In both those cases we were able to 
discover the truth long before even the excellent 
ingenuity of Frederic Larsan had been able to un- 
ravel it. These reports were written by our 
youngest reporter, Joseph Rouletabille, a youth of 
eighteen, whose fame to-morrow will be world-wide. 
When attention was first drawn to the Glandier 
case, our youthful reporter was on the spot and 
installed in the chateau, when every other repre- 
sentative of the press had been denied admission. 
He worked side by side with Frecteric Larsan. He 
was amazed and terrified at the grave mistake 
the celebrated detective was about to make, and 
tried to divert him from the false scent he was 
following; but the great Fred refused to receive 
instructions from this young journalist. We 
know now to where it brought Monsieur Robert 

" But now, France must know — the whole world 
must know, that, on the very evening on which 
Monsieur Darzac was arrested, young Rouletabille 
entered our editorial office and informed us that 
he was about to go away on a journey. 'How 
long I shall be away,' he said, * I cannot say ; per- 
haps a month — perhaps two — perhaps three — 
perhaps I may never return. Here is a letter. If 
I am not back on the day on which Monsieur 
Darzac is to appear before the Assize Court, have 
this letter opened and read to the court, after all 
the witnesses have been heard. Arrange it with 
Monsieur Darzac's counsel. Monsieur Darzac is 
innocent. In this letter is written the name of the 


murderer ; and — that is all I have to say. I am 
fearing to get my proofs — for the irrefutable 
evidence of the murderer's guilt.' Our reporter 
departed. For a long time we were without news 
from him; but, a week ago, a stranger called 
upon our manager and said : * Act in accordance 
with the instructions of Joseph Rouletabille, if 
it becomes necessary to do so. The letter left 
by him holds the truth. 9 The gentleman who 
brought us this message would not give us his 

" To-day, the 15th of January, is the day of 
the trial. Joseph Rouletabille has not returned. 
It may be we shall never see him again. The press 
also counts its heroes, its martyrs to duty. It 
may be he is no longer living. We shall know how 
to avenge him. Our manager will, this afternoon, 
be at the Court of Assize at Versailles, with the 
letter — the letter containing the name of the 
murderer ! " 

At the head of the article appeared a portrait 
of Rouletabille — the same given as the frontis- 
piece to this book. 

« « « « « 

Those Parisians who flocked the Assize Court at 
^Versailles, to be present at the trial of what was 
known as the " Mystery of The Yellow Room," will 
certainly remember the terrible crush at the Saint- 
Lazare station. The ordinary trains were so full 
that special trains had to be made up. The article 
in the " Epoque " had so excited the populace that 
discussion was rife everywhere even to the verge 


of blows. Partisans of Rouletabille fought with 
the supporters of Frederic Larsan. Curiously 
enough the excitement was due less to the fact 
that an innocent man was in danger of a wrong- 
ful conviction than to the interest taken in their 
own ideas as to the Mystery of The Yellow 
Room. Each had his explanation to which each 
held fast. Those who explained the crime on 
Frederic Larsan's theory would not admit that 
there could be any doubt as to the perspicacity of 
the popular detective. Others who had arrived at 
a different solution, naturally insisted that this 
was Rouletabille's explanation, though they did not 
as yet know what that was. 

With the day's " Epoque " in their hands, the 
" Larsans " and the " Rouletabilles " fought and 
shoved each, other on the steps of the Palais de 
Justice, right into the court itself. Those who 
could not get in remained in the neighbourhood 
until evening and were, with great difficulty, kept 
back by the soldiery and the police. They became 
hungry for news, welcoming the most absurd 
rumours. At one time the rumour spread that 
Monsieur Stangerson himself had been arrested 
in the court and had confessed to being the mur- 
derer. This goes to show to what a pitch of mad- 
ness nervous excitement may carry people. Rou-: 
letabille was still expected. Some pretended to 
know him ; and when a young man with a " pass " 
crossed the open space which separated the crowd 
from the Court House, a scuffle took place. Cries 
were raised of " Rouletabille ! — there 's Rouleta- 
bille! " The arrival of the manager of the paper 


was the signal for a great demonstration. Some 
applauded, others hissed. 

« « « « « 

The trial itself was presided over by Monsieur 
de Rocouz, a judge filled with the prejudice of his 
class, but a man honest at heart. The witnesses 
had been called. I was there, of course, as were 
all who had, in any way, been in touch with the 
mysteries of the Glandier. Monsieur Stangerson 
— looking many years older and almost unrecog- 
nisable — Larsan, Arthur Ranee, with his face 
ruddy as ever, Daddy Jacques, Daddy Mathieu, 
who was brought into court handcuffed between 
two gendarmes, Madame Mathieu, in tears, the two 
Berniers, the two nurses, the steward, all the 
domestics of the chateau, the employ^ of the Paris 
Post Office, the railway employe from Epinay, some 
friends of Monsieur and Mademoiselle Stangerson, 
and all Monsieur Darzac's witnesses. I was lucky 
enough to be called early in the trial, so that I 
was then able to watch and be present at almost 
the whole of the proceedings. 

The court was so crowded that many lawyers 
were compelled to find seats on the steps. Behind 
the bench of justices were representatives from 
other benches. Monsieur Robert Darzac stood in 
{ the prisoner's dock between policemen, tall, hand- 
some, and calm. A murmur of admiration rather 
than of compassion greeted his appearance. He 
leaned forward towards his counsel, Maitre Henri 
Robert, who, assisted by his chief secretary, Maitre 
Andr£ Hesse, was busily turning over the folios of 
his brief. 



Many expected that Monsieur Stangerson, after 
giving his evidence, would have gone over to the 
prisoner and shaken hands with him; but he 
left the court without another word. It was 
remarked that the jurors appeared to be deeply 
interested in a rapid conversation which the 
manager of the "Epoque" was having with 
Maitre Henri Robert. The manager, later, sat 
down in the front row of the public seats. Some 
were surprised that he was not asked to remain 
with the other witnesses in the room reserved for 

The reading of the indictment was got through, 
as it always is, without any incident. I shall not 
here report the long examination to which Mon- 
sieur Darzac was subjected. He answered all the 
questions quickly and easily. His silence as to the 
important matters of which we know was dead 
against him. It would seem as if this reticence 
would be fatal for him. He resented the Presi- 
dent's reprimands. He was told that his silence 
might mean death. 

" Very well," he said ; " I will submit to it ; but 
I am innocent." 

With that splendid ability which has made his 
fame, Maitre Robert took advantage of the inci- 
dent, and tried to show that it brought out in noble 
relief his client's character ; for only heroic natures 
could remain silent for moral reasons in face of 
such a danger. The eminent advocate however, 
only succeeded in assuring those who were already 
assured of Darzac's innocence. At the adjourn- 
ment Rouletabille had not yet arrived. Every 


time a door opened, all eyes there turned towards 
it and back to the manager of the " Epoque," who 
sat impassive in his place. When he once was 
feeling in his pocket a loud murmur of expecta- 
tion followed. The letter ! 

It is not, however, my intention to report in 
detail the course of the trial. My readers are suffi- 
ciently acquainted with the mysteries surround- 
ing the Glandier case to enable me to go on to the 
really dramatic denouement of this ever-memorable 

When the trial was resumed, Mattre Henri Rob- 
ert questioned Daddy Mathieu as to his complicity 
in the death of the keeper. His wife was also 
brought in and was confronted by her husband. 
She burst into tears and confessed that she had 
been the keeper's mistress, and that her husband 
had suspected it. She again, however, affirmed 
that he had had nothing to do with the murder 
of her lover. Maitre Henri Robert thereupon 
asked the court to hear Frederic Larsan on this 

" In a short conversation which I have had with 
Frederic Larsan, during the adjournment," de- 
clared the advocate, " he has made me understand 
that the death of the keeper may have been brought 
about otherwise than by the hand of Mathieu. 
It will be interesting to hear Frederic Larsan's 

Frederic Larsan was brought in. His explana- 
tion was quite clear. 

" I see no necessity," he said, " for bringing 
Mathieu in this. I have told Monsieur de Marquet 


that the man's threats had biassed the examining 
magistrate against him. To me the attempt to 
murder Mademoiselle and the death of the keeper 
are the work of one and the same person. Made- 
moiselle Stangerson's murderer, flying through 
the court, was fired on; it was thought he was 
struck, perhaps killed. As a matter of fact, he 
only stumbled at the moment of his disappearance 
behind the corner of the right wing of the chateau* 
There he encountered the keeper who, no doubt, 
tried to seize him. The murderer had in his 
hand the knife with which he had stabbed Made- 
moiselle Stangerson and with this he killed the 

This very simple explanation appeared at once 
plausible and satisfying. A murmur of approba- 
tion was heard. 

"And the murderer? What became of him?" 
asked the President. 

" He was evidently hidden in an obscure cor- 
ner at the end of the court. After the people 
had left the court carrying with them the body 
of the keeper, the murderer quietly made his 

The words had scarcely left Larsan's mouth 
when from the back of the court came a youthful 
voice : — 

" I agree with Fr6d6ric Larsan as to the death 
of the keeper; but I do not agree with him as to 
the way the murderer escaped ! " 

Everybody turned round, astonished. The 
clerks of the court sprang towards the speaker, 
calling out silence, and the President angrily or- 


dered the intruder to be immediately expelled. 
The same clear voice, however, was again 
heard : — 

" It is I, Monsieur President — Joseph Rouleta- 


in Which Joseph RouletabWe Appears in 
AU His Glory 

THE excitement was extreme. Cries from faint- 
ing women were to be heard amid the extraor- 
dinary bustle and stir. The " majesty of the law " 
was utterly forgotten. The President tried in 
vain to make himself heard. Rouletabille made 
his way forward with difficulty, but by dint of much 
elbowing reached his manager and greeted him 
cordially. The letter was passed to him and 
pocketing it he turned to the witness-box. He was 
dressed exactly as on the day he left me even to 
the ulster over his arm. Turning to the President, 
he said : — 

" I beg your pardon, Monsieur President, 
but I have only just arrived from America. 
The steamer was late. My name is Joseph 

The silence which followed his stepping into the 
witness-box was broken by laughter when his words 
were heard. Everybody seemed relieved and glad 
to find him there, as if in the expectation of hear- 
ing the truth at last. 

But the President was extremely incensed: 

" So, you are Joseph Rouletabille," he replied ; 
u well, young man, I '11 teach you what comes of 
making a farce of justice. By virtue of mjr 


discretionary power, I hold you at the court's 
disposition.' 9 

" I ask nothing better, Monsieur President. I 
have come here for that purpose. I humbly beg 
the court's pardon for the disturbance of which I 
have been the innocent cause. I beg you to believe 
that nobody has a greater respect for the court 
than I have. I came in as I could." He smiled. 

" Take him away ! " ordered the President. 

Maitre Henri Robert intervened. He began by 
apologising for the young man, who, he said, was 
moved only by the best intentions. He made the 
President understand that the evidence of a wit- 
ness who had slept at the Glandier during the whole 
of that eventful week could not be omitted, and the 
present witness, moreover, had come to name the 
real murderer. 

" Are you going to tell us who the murderer 
was ? " asked the President, somewhat convinced 
though still sceptical. 

" I have come for that purpose, Monsieur 
President ! " replied Rouletabille. 

An attempt at applause was silenced by the 

" Joseph Rouletabille," said Maitre Henri Rob- 
ert, " has not been regularly subpoenaed as a wit- 
ness, but I hope, Monsieur President, you will 
examine him in virtue of your discretionary 

" Very well ! " said the President, " we will ques- 
tion him. But we must proceed in order." 

The Advocate-General rose: 

" It would, perhaps, be better," he said, u if 


the young man were to tell us now whom he 

The President nodded ironically : — 

" If the Advocate-General attaches importance 
to the deposition of Monsieur Joseph Rouletabille, 
I see no reason why this witness should not give 
us the name of the murderer." 

A pin drop could have been heard. Rouletabille 
stood silent looking sympathetically at Darzac, 
who, for the first time since the opening of the 
trial, showed himself agitated. 

" Well," cried the President, " we wait for the 
name of the murderer." 

Rouletabille, feeling in his waistcoat pocket, 
drew his watch and, looking at it, said : — 

" Monsieur President, I cannot name the mur- 
derer before half -past six o'clock ! " 

Loud murmurs of disappointment filled the 
room. Some of the lawyers were heard to say: 
" He *s making fun of us ! " 

The President in a stern voice, said: — 

"This joke has gone far enough. You may 
retire, Monsieur, into the witnesses' room. I hold 
you at our disposition." 

Rouletabille protested. 

" I assure you, Monsieur President," he cried in 
his sharp, clear voice, " that when I do name the 
murderer you will understand why I could not 
speak before half-past six. I assert this on my 
honour. I can, however, give you now some expla- 
nation of the murder of the keeper. Monsieur 
Frederic Larsan, who has seen me at work at the 
dandier, can tell you with what care I studied this 



case. I found myself compelled to differ with him 
in arresting Monsieur Robert Darzac, who is inno- 
cent. Monsieur Larsan knows of my good faith 
and knows that some importance may be attached 
to my discoveries, which have often corroborated 
his own." 

Frederic Larsan said: — 

" Monsieur President, it will be interesting to 
hear Monsieur Joseph Rouletabille, especially as 
he differs from me." 

A murmur of approbation greeted the detec- 
tive's speech. He was a good sportsman and ac- 
cepted the challenge. The struggle between the 
two promised to be exciting. 

As the President remained silent, Frederic Lar- 
san continued : 

" We agree that the murderer of the keeper was 
the assailant of Mademoiselle Stangerson; but as 
we are not agreed as to how the murderer escaped, 
I am curious to hear Monsieur Rouletabille's 

" I have no doubt you are," said my friend. 

General laughter followed this remark. The 
President angrily declared that if it was repeated, 
he would have the court cleared. 

" Now, young man," said the President, " you 
have heard Monsieur Frederic Larsan; how did 
the murderer get away from the court?" 
* * * * * 

Rouletabille looked at Madame Mathieu, who 
smiled back at him sadly. 

" Since Madame Mathieu," he said, " has freely 
admitted her intimacy with the keeper — " 


"Why, it's the boy!" exclaimed Daddy 

" Remove that man ! " ordered the President. 

Mathieu was removed from the court. Rouleta- 
bille went on : — 

" Since she has made this confession, I am free 
to tell you that she often met the keeper at night 
on the first floor of the donjon, in the room which 
was once an oratory. These meetings became more 
frequent when her husband was laic? up by his 
rheumatism. She gave him morphine to ease his 
pain and to give herself more time for the meetings. 
Madame Mathieu came to the chateau that night, 
enveloped in a large black shawl which served also 
as a disguise. This was the phantom that dis- 
turbed Daddy Jacques. She knew how to imitate 
the mewing of Mother Angenoux* cat and she would 
make the cries to advise the keeper of her pres- 
ence. The recent repairs of the donjon did 
not interfere with their meetings in the keeper's 
old room, in the donjon, since the new room 
assigned to him at the end of the right wing was 
separated from the steward's room by a partition 

" Previous to the tragedy in the court Madame 
Mathieu and the keeper left the donjon together. 
I learnt these facts from my examination of the 
footmarks in the court the next morning. Bernier, 
the concierge, whom I had stationed behind the 
donjon — as he will explain himself — could not 
see what passed in the court. He did not reach 
the court until he heard the revolver shots, and 
then he fired. When the woman parted from the 


man she went towards the open gate of the court, 
while he returned to his room. 

" He had almost reached the door when the 
revolvers rang out. He had just reached the 
corner when a shadow bounded by. Meanwhile, 
Madame Mathieu, surprised by the revolver shots 
and by the entrance of people into the court, 
crouched in the darkness. The court is a large 
one and, being near the gate, she might easily have 
passed out unseen. But she remained and saw the 
body being carried away. In great agony of mind 
she neared the vestibule and saw the dead body of 
her lover on the stairs lit up by Daddy Jacques* 
lantern. She then fled; and Daddy Jacques joined 

" That same night, before the murder, Daddy 
Jacques had been awakened by the cat's cry, and, 
looking through his window, had seen the black 
phantom. Hastily dressing himself he went out 
and recognised her. He is an old friend of Madame 
Mathieu, and when she saw him she had to tell him 
of her relations with the keeper and begged his 
assistance. Daddy Jacques took pity on her and 
accompanied her through the oak grove out of 
the park, past the border of the lake to the road 
to Epinay. From there it was but a very short 
distance to her home. 

" Daddy Jacques returned to the chateau, and, 
seeing how important it was for Madame Mathieu's 
presence at the chateau to remain unknown, he had 
done all he could to hide it. I appeal to Monsieur 
Larsan, who saw me, next morning, examine the 
two sets of footprints." 



Here Rouletabille turning towards Madam! 
Mathieu, with a bow, said : — 

" The footprints of Madame bear a strange re* 
semblance to the neat footprints of the murderer." 

Madame Mathieu trembled and looked at him 
with wide eyes as if in wonder at what he would 
say next. 

" Madame has a shapely foot, long and rather 
large for a woman. The imprint, with its pointed 
toe, is very like that of the murderer's." 

A movement in the court was repressed by Rou- 
letabille. He held their attention at once. 

" I hasten to add," he went on, " that I attach 
no importance to this. Outward signs like these 
are often liable to lead us into error, if we do not 
reason rightly. Monsieur Robert Darzac's foot- 
prints are also like the murderer's, and yet he is 
not the murderer ! " 

The President turning to Madame Mathieu 
asked : — 

" Is that in accordance with what you know 
occurred? " 

" Yes, Monsieur President," she replied, " it is as 
if Monsieur Rouletabille had been behind us." 

" Did you see the murderer running towards 
the end of the right wing? " 

"Yes, as clearly as I saw them afterwards 
carrying the keeper's body." 

"What became of the murderer? — You were 
in the court and could easily have seen ? " 

" I saw nothing of him, Monsieur President. It 
became quite dark just then." 

" Then Monsieur Rouletabille," said the Preri- 


dent, " must explain how the murderer made his 

Rouletabille continued: 

" It was impossible for the murderer to escape 
by the way he had entered the court without our 
seeing him; or if we couldn't see him we must 
certainly have felt him, since the court is a very 
narrow one enclosed in high iron railings." 

" Then if the man was hemmed in that narrow 
square, how is it you did not find him? — I have 
been asking you that for the last half hour." 

" Monsieur President," replied Rouletabille, " I 
cannot answer that question before half-past 

By this time the people in the court-room were 
beginning to believe in this new witness. They 
were amused by his melodramatic action in thus 
fixing the hour ; but they seemed to have confidence 
in the outcome. As for the President, it looked as 
if he also had made up his mind to take the young 
man in the same way. He had certainly been im- 
pressed by Rouletabille's explanation of Madame 
Mathieu's part. 

" Well, Monsieur Rouletabille," he said, " as you 
say ; but don't let us see any more of you before 
half -past six." 

Rouletabille bowed to the President, and made 
his way to the door of the witnesses' room. 
* * * * * 

I quietly made my way through the crowd 
and left the court almost at the same time as 
Rouletabille. He greeted me heartily, and looked 



" I '11 not ask you, my dear f ellow," I said, smil- 
ing, " what you 've been doing in America ; be- 
cause I *ve no doubt you '11 say you can't tell me 
until after half-past six." 

" No, my dear Sainclair, I '11 tell you right now 
why I went to America. I went in search of the 
name of the other half of the murderer ! " 

" The name of the other half? " 

" Exactly. When we last left the Glandier I 
knew there were two halves to the murderer and the 
name of only one of them. I went to America for 
the name of the other half." 

I was too puzzled to answer. Just then we en- 
tered the witnesses 9 room, and Rouletabille was im- 
mediately surrounded. He showed himself very 
friendly to all except Arthur Ranee to whom he 
exhibited a marked coldness of manner. Frederic 
Larsan came in also. Rouletabille went up and 
shook him heartily by the hand. His manner 
toward the detective showed that he had got the 
better of the policeman. Larsan smiled and asked 
him what he had been doing in America. Rouleta- 
bille began by telling him some anecdotes of his 
voyage. They then turned aside together appar- 
ently with the object of speaking confidentially. 
I, therefore, discreetly left them and, being curious 
to hear the evidence, returned to my seat in the 
court-room where the public plainly showed its lack 
of interest in what was going on in their impa- 
tience for Rouletabille' s return at the appointed 



On the stroke of half-past six Joseph Rouleta- 
bille was again brought in. It is impossible for 
me to picture the tense excitement which appeared 
on every face, as he made his way to the bar. Dar- 
zac rose to his feet, frightfully pale. 

The President, addressing Rouletabille, said 
gravely : — 

" I will not ask you to take the oath, because you 
have not been regularly summoned; but I trust 
there is no need to urge upon you the gravity of 
the statement you are about to make." 

Rouletabille looked the President quite calmly 
and steadily in the face, and replied: 

" Yes, Monsieur. 5 ' 

" At your last appearance here," said the Presi- 
dent, " we had arrived at the point where you were 
to tell us how the murderer escaped, and also his 
name. Now, Monsieur Rouletabille, we await your 

" Very well, Monsieur," began my friend amidst 
a profound silence. " I had explained how it was 
impossible for the murderer to get away without 
being seen. And yet he was there with us in the 

"And you did not see him? At least that is 
what the prosecution declares." 

" No ! we all of us saw him, Monsieur le Presi- 
dent ! " cried Rouletabille. 

" Then why was he not arrested? " 

" Because no one, besides myself, knew that he 

was the murderer. It would have spoiled my plans 

to have had him arrested, and I had then no proof 

other than my own reasoning. I was convinced 



we had the murderer before us and that we were 
actually looking at him. I have now brought 
what I consider the indisputable proof." 

" Speak out, Monsieur ! Tell us the murderer's 

" You will find it on the list of names present in 
the court on the night of the tragedy," replied 

The people present in the court-room began 
showing impatience. Some of them even called for 
the name, and were silenced by the usher. 

" The list includes Daddy Jacques, Bernier the 
concierge, and Mr. Arthur Ranee," said the Presi- 
dent. " Do you accuse any of these? " 

"No, Monsieur!" 

" Then I do not understand what you are driv- 
ing at. There was no other person at the end 
of the court." 

" Yes, Monsieur, there was, not at the end, but 
above the court, who was leaning out of the 

" Do you mean Fr£d6ric Larsan ! " exclaimed the 

"Yes! Frederic Larsan!" replied Rouleta- 
bille in a ringing tone. " Frederic Larsan is the 
murderer ! " 

* * * * * 

The court-room became immediately filled with 
loud and indignant protests. So astonished was 
he that the President did not attempt to quiet 
it. The quick silence which followed was broken 
by the distinctly whispered words from the lips 
of Robert Darzac : 



" It 's impossible ! He 's mad ! " 

" You dare to accuse Fr6d£ric Larsan, Mon- 
sieur? " asked the President. " If you are not mad, 
what are your proofs? " 

"Proofs, Monsieur? — Do you want proofs? 
Well, here is one," cried Rouletabille shrilly. " Let 
Fr£d£ric Larsan be called ! " 

" Usher, call Frederic Larsan." 

The usher hurried to the side door, opened it, 
and disappeared. The door remained open, while 
all eyes turned expectantly towards it. The clerk 
re-appeared and, stepping forward, said: 

" Monsieur President, Fr6d6ric Larsan is not 
here. He left at about four o'clock and has not 
been seen since." 

"That is my proof!" cried Rouletabille, tri- 

" Explain yourself? " demanded the President. 

" My proof is Larsan's flight," said the young 
reporter. " He will not come back. You will see 
no more of Fr6d6ric Larsan." 

" Unless you are playing with the court, Mon- 
sieur, why did you not accuse him when he was 
present? He would then have answered you." 

" He could give no other answer than the one 
he has now given by his flight." 

" We cannot believe that Larsan has fled. There 
was no reason for his doing so. Did he know 
you *d make this charge? " 

" He did. I told him I would." 

" Do you mean to say that knowing Larsan was 
the murderer you gave him the opportunity to 
escape? " 



" Yes, Monsieur President, I did," replied Rou- 
letabille, proudly. " I am not a policeman, I am 
a journalist; and my business is not to arrest 
people. My business is in the service of truth, and 
is not that of an executioner. If you are just, 
Monsieur, you will see that I am right. You can 
now understand why I refrained until this hour 
to divulge the name. I gave Larsan time to catch 
the 4—17 train for Paris, where he would know 
where to hide himself, and leave no traces. You 
will not find Frederic Larsan," declared Rouleta- 
bille, fixing his eyes on Monsieur Robert Darzac. 
" He is too cunning. He is a man who has always 
escaped you and whom you have long searched for 
in vain. If he did not succeed in outwitting me, he 
can yet easily outwit any police. This man who, four 
years ago, introduced himself to the S(iret£, and be- 
came celebrated as Fr6de*ric Larsan, is notorious 
under another name — a name well known to 
crime. Frederic Larsan, Monsieur President, is 
Ballmeyer ! " 

" Ballmeyer ! " cried the President. 

" Ballmeyer ! " exclaimed Robert Darzac, spring- 
ing to his feet. " Ballmeyer ! — It was true, then ! " 

"Ah ! Monsieur Darzac ; you don't think I am 
mad, now ! " cried Rouletabille. 

Ballmeyer! Ballmeyer! No other word could 
be heard in the court-room. The President ad- 
journed the hearing. 

• • • • • 

Those of my readers who may not have heard 
of Ballmeyer will wonder at the excitement the 
name caused. And yet the doings of this remark- 
18 273 


able criminal form the subject-matter of the most 
dramatic narratives of the newspapers and crim- 
inal records of the past twenty years. It had 
been reported that he was dead, and thus had 
eluded the police as he had eluded them through- 
out the whole of his career. 

Ballmeyer was the best specimen of the high- 
class " gentleman swindler." He was an adept at 
sleight of hand tricks, and no bolder or more ruth- 
less crook ever lived. He was received in the best 
society, and was a member of some of the most 
exclusive clubs. On many of his depredatory ex- 
peditions he had not hesitated to use the knife and 
the mutton-bone. No difficulty stopped him and 
no " operation " was too dangerous. He had been 
caught, but escaped on the very morning of his 
trial, by throwing pepper into the eyes of the 
guards who were conducting him to Court. It was 
known later that, in spite of the keen hunt after 
him by the most expert of detectives, he had sat 
that same evening at a first performance in the 
Theatre Francais, without the slightest disguise. 

He left France, later, to " work " America. 
The police there succeeded in once capturing him, 
but the extraordinary man escaped the next day. 
It would need a volume to recount the adventures 
of this master-criminal. And yet this was the man 
Rouletabille had allowed to get away! Knowing 
all about him and who he was, he afforded the crim- 
inal an opportunity for another laugh at the so- 
ciety he had defied ! I could not help admiring the 
bold stroke of the young journalist, because I felt 
certain his motive had been to protect both Made- 


moiselle Stangerson and rid Darzac of an enemy 
at the same time. 

The crowd had barely recovered from the effect 
of the astonishing revelation when the hearing was 
resumed. The question in everybody's mind was: 
Admitting that Larsan was the murderer, how did 
he get out of The Yellow Room? 

Rouletabille was immediately called to the bar 
and his examination continued. 

" You have told us," said the President, " that 
it was impossible to escape from the end of the 
court. Since Larsan was leaning out of his window, 
he had left the court. How did he do that? " 

" He escaped by a most unusual way. He 
climbed the wall, sprang onto the terrace, and, while 
we were engaged with the keeper's body, reached 
the gallery by the window. He then had little else 
to do than to open the window, get in and call out 
to us, as if he had just come from his own room. 
To a man of Ballmeyer's strength all that was mere 
child's play. And here, Monsieur, is the proof 
of what I say." 

Rouletabille drew from his pocket a small packet, 
from which he produced a strong iron peg. 

" This, Monsieur," he said, " is a spike which 
perfectly fits a hole still to be seen in the cornice 
supporting the terrace. Larsan, who thought and 
prepared for everything in case of any emergency. 
had fixed this spike into the cornice. All he had 
to do to make his escape good was to plant one 
foot on a stone which is placed at the corner of the 
chateau, another on this support, one hand on the 
cornice of the keeper's door and the other on the 


terrace, and Larsan was clear of the ground. The 
rest was easy. His acting after dinner as if he had 
been drugged was make believe. He was not 
drugged ; but he did drug me. Of course he had 
to make it appear as if he also had been drugged 
so that no suspicion should fall on him for my con- 
dition. Had I not been thus overpowered, Larsan 
would never have entered Mademoiselle Stanger- 
son's chamber that night, and the attack on her 
would not have taken place." 

A groan came from Darzac, who appeared to be 
unable to control his suffering. 

"You can understand," added Rouletabille, 
" that Larsan would feel himself hampered from 
the fact that my room was so close to his, and from 
a suspicion that I would be on the watch that 
night. Naturally, he could not for a moment be- 
lieve that I suspected him! But I might see him 
leaving his room when he was about to go to 
Mademoiselle Stangerson. He waited till I was 
asleep, and my friend Sainclair was busy trying to 
rouse me. Ten minutes after that Mademoiselle 
was calling out, " Murder ! " 

" How did you come to suspect Larsan? " asked 
the President. 

" My pure reason pointed to him. That was 
why I watched him. But I did not foresee the drug- 
ging. He is very cunning. Yes, my pure reason 
pointed to him; but I required tangible proof so 
that my eyes could see him as my pure reason saw 

" What do you mean by your pure reason? " 

" That power of one's mind which admits of no 


disturbing elements to a conclusion. The day fol- 
lowing the incident of * the inexplicable gallery, 5 
I felt myself losing control of it. I had allowed 
myself to be diverted by fallacious evidence ; but I 
recovered and again took hold of the right end. I 
satisfied myself that the murderer could not have 
left the gallery, either naturally or supernaturally. 
I narrowed the field of consideration to that small 
circle, so to speak. The murderer could not be 
outside that circle. Now who were in it? There 
was, first, the murderer. Then there were Daddy 
Jacques, Monsieur Stangerson, Fr£d6ric Larsan, 
and myself. Five persons in all, counting in the 
murderer. And yet, in the gallery, there were but 
four. Now since it had been demonstrated to me 
that the fifth could not have escaped, it was evident 
that one of the four present in the gallery must 
be a double — he must be himself and the murderer 
also. Why had I not seen this before? Simply 
because the phenomenon of the double personality 
had not occurred before in this inquiry. 

" Now who of the four persons in the gallery 
was both that person and the assassin? I went 
over in my mind what I had seen. I had seen at 
one and the same time, Monsieur Stangerson and 
the murderer, Daddy Jacques and the murderer, 
myself and the murderer; so that the murderer, 
then, could not be either Monsieur Stangerson, 
Daddy Jacques, or myself. Had I seen Frederic 
Larsan and the murderer at the same time? — 
No! — Two seconds had passed, during which I 
lost sight of the murderer; for, as I have noted 
in my papers, he arrived two seconds before Mon- 


sieur Stangerson, Daddy Jacques, and myself at 
the meeting-point of the two galleries. That would 
have given Larsan time to go through the * off- 
turning ' gallery, snatch off his false beard, return, 
and hurry with us as if, like us, in pursuit of the 
murderer. I was sure now I had got hold of the 
right end in my reasoning. With Fr6de>ic Larsan 
was now always associated, in my mind, the per- 
sonality of the unknown of whom I was in pursuit 
— the murderer, in other words. 

" That revelation staggered me. I tried to re- 
gain my balance by going over the evidences pre- 
viously traced, but which had diverted my mind 
and led me away from Fr£d£ric Larsan. What 
were these evidences? 

" 1st. I had seen the unknown in Mademoiselle 
Stangerson's chamber. On going to Fr£d6ric Lar- 
san's room, I had found Larsan sound asleep. 

"2nd. The ladder. 

" 3rd. I had placed Fr6d6ric Larsan at the end 
of the * off-turning ' gallery and had told him that 
I would rush into Mademoiselle Stangerson's room 
to try to capture the murderer. Then I returned 
to Mademoiselle Stangerson's chamber where I 
had seen the unknown. 

" The first evidence did not disturb me much. 
It is likely that, when I descended from my ladder, 
after having seen the unknown in Mademoiselle 
Stangerson's chamber, Larsan had already finished 
what he was doing there. Then, while I was re- 
entering the chateau, Larsan went back to his own 
room and, undressing himself, went to sleep. 

" Nor did the second evidence trouble me. If 


Larsan were the murderer, he could have no use for 
a ladder; but the ladder might have been placed 
there to give an appearance to the murderer's en- 
trance from without the chateau; especially as 
Larsan had accused Darzac and Darzac was not 
in the chateau that night. Further, the ladder 
might have been placed there to facilitate Larsan's 
flight in case of absolute necessity. 

" But the third evidence puzzled me altogether. 
Having placed Larsan at the end of the * off-turn- 
ing gallery,' I could not explain how he had taken 
advantage of the moment when I had gone to the 
left wing of the chateau to find Monsieur Stanger- 
son and Daddy Jacques, to return to Mademoiselle 
Stangerson's room. It was a very dangerous thing 
to do. He risked being captured, — and he knew 
it. And he was very nearly captured. He had not 
had time to regain his post, as he had certainly 
hoped to do. He had then a very strong reason 
for returning to his room. As for myself, when I 
sent Daddy Jacques to the end of the * right gal- 
lery,' I naturally thought that Larsan was still at 
his post. Daddy Jacques, in going to his post, 
had not looked, when he passed, to see whether Lar- 
san was at his post or not. 

44 What, then, was the urgent reason which had 
compelled Larsan to go to the room a second time? 
I guessed it to be some evidence of his presence 
there. He had left something very important in 
that room. What was it? And had he recovered it ? 
I begged Madame Bernier who was accustomed to 
clean the room to look, and she found a pair of eye- 
glasses — this pair, Monsieur President!" 


And Rouletabille drew the eye-glasses, of which 
we know, from his pocket. 

" When I saw these eye-glasses," he continued, 
"I was utterly nonplussed. I had never seen 
Larsan wear eye-glasses. What did they mean? 
Suddenly I exclaimed to myself : 4 1 wonder if* 
he is long-sighted? ' I had never seen Larsan 
write. He might, then, be long-sighted. They 
would certainly know at the Sfiret£, and also know 
if the glasses were his. Such evidence would be 
damning. That explained Larsan's return. I 
know now that Larsan, or Ballmeyer, is long- 
sighted and that these glasses belonged to him. 

44 I now made one mistake. I was not satisfied 
with the evidence I had obtained. I wished to see 
the man's face. Had I refrained from this, the 
second terrible attack would not have occurred." 
44 But," asked the President, " why should Lar- 
san go to Mademoiselle Stangerson's room, at all? 
Why should he twice attempt to murder her? " 
44 Because he loves her, Monsieur President." 
44 That is certainly a reason, but — " 
44 It is the only reason. He was madly in love, 
and because of that, and — other things, he was 
capable of committing any crime." 

44 Did Mademoiselle Stangerson know this?" 
44 Yes, Monsieur ; but she was ignorant of the 
fact that the man who was pursuing her was 
Frederic Larsan, otherwise, of course, he would 
not have been allowed to be at the chateau. I no- 
ticed, when he was in her room after the incident 
in the gallery, that he kept himself in the shadow, 
and that he kept his head bent down. He was look- 


Ing for the lost eye-glasses. Mademoiselle Stang- 
erson knew Larsan under another name." 

" Monsieur Darzac," asked the President', " did 
Mademoiselle Stangerson in any way confide in 
you on this matter? How is it that she has never 
spoken about it to anyone? If you are innocent, 
she would have wished to spare you the pain of 
being accused." 

" Mademoiselle Stangerson told me nothing," re- 
plied Monsieur Darzac. 

" Does what this young man say appear prob« 
able to you? " the President asked. 

" Mademoiselle Stangerson has told me noth- 
ing," he replied stolidly. 

" How do you explain that, on the night of the 
murder of the keeper," the President asked, turn- 
ing to Rouletabille, " the murderer brought back 
the papers stolen from Monsieur Stangerson? — 
How do you explain how the murderer gained en- 
trance into Mademoiselle Stangerson's locked 
room? " 

" The last question is easily answered. A man 
like Larsan, or Ballmeyer, could have had made du- 
plicate keys. As to the documents, I think Larsan 
had not intended to steal them, at first. Closely 
watching Mademoiselle with the purpose of pre- 
venting her marriage with Monsieur Robert Dar- 
zac, he one day followed her and Monsieur into the 
Grands Magasins de la Louvre. There he got 
possession of the reticule which she lost, or left 
behind. In that reticule was a key with a brass 
head. He did not know there was any value at- 
tached to the key till the advertisement in the 


newspapers revealed it. He then wrote to Made* 
moiselle, as the advertisement requested. No doubt 
he asked for a meeting, making known to her that 
he was also the person who had for some time pur- 
sued her with his love He received no answer. He 
went to the Post Office and ascertained that his 
letter was no longer there. He had already taken 
complete stock of Monsieur Darzac, and, having 
decided to go to any lengths to gain Mademoiselle 
Stangerson, he had planned that, whatever might 
happen, Monsieur Darzac, his hated rival, should 
be the man to be suspected. 

" I do not think that Larsan had as yet thought 
of murdering Mademoiselle Stangerson ; but what- 
ever he might do, he made sure that Monsieur Dar- 
zac should suffer for it. He was very nearly of 
the same height as Monsieur Darzac and had al- 
most the same sized feet. It would not be difficult, 
to take an impression of Monsieur Darzac's foot- 
prints, and have similar boots made for himself. 
Such tricks were mere child's play for Larsan, or 

" Receiving no reply to his letter, he determined, 
since Mademoiselle Stangerson would not come to 
him, that he would go to her. His plan had long 
been formed. He had made himself master of the 
plans of the chateau and the pavilion. So that, 
one afternoon, while Monsieur and Mademoiselle 
Stangerson were out for a walk, and while Daddy 
Jacques was away, he entered the latter by the 
vestibule window. He was alone, and, being in no 
hurry, he began examining the furniture. One of 
the pieces, resembling a safe, had a very small key- 


hole. That interested him ! He had with him the 
little key with the brass head, and, associating one 
with the other, he tried the key in the lock. The 
door opened. He saw nothing but papers. They 
must be very valuable to have been put away in a 
safe, and the key to which to be of so much im- 
portance. Perhaps a thought of blackmail oc- 
curred to him as a useful possibility in helping him 
in his designs on Mademoiselle Stangerson. He 
quickly made a parcel of the papers and took it 
to the lavatory in the vestibule. Between the time 
of his first examination of the pavilion and the 
night of the murder of the keeper, Larsan had had 
time to find out what those papers contained. He 
could do nothing with them, and they were rather 
compromising. That night he took them back to 
the chateau. Perhaps he hoped that, by returning 
the papers he might obtain some gratitude from 
Mademoiselle Stangerson. But whatever may have 
been his reasons, he took the papers back and so 
rid himself of an encumbrance." 

Rouletabille coughed. It was evident to me that 
he was embarrassed. He had arrived at a point 
where he had to keep back his knowledge of Lar- 
san's true motive. The explanation he had given 
had evidently been unsatisfactory. Rouletabille was 
quick enough to note the bad impression he had 
made, for, turning to the President, he said : " And 
now we come to the explanation of the Mystery of 
The Yellow Room !" 

• • • • • 

A movement of chairs in the court with a 
rustling of dresses and an energetic whispering 


of "Hush ! " showed the curiosity that had been 

" It seems to me," said the President, " that the 
Mystery of The Yellow Room, Monsieur Rouleta- 
bille, is wholly explained by your hypothesis. 
Fr6de*ric Larsan is the explanation. We have 
merely to substitute him for Monsieur Robert Dar- 
zac. Evidently the door of The Yellow Room was 
open at the time Monsieur Stangerson was alone, 
and that he allowed the man who was coming out 
of his daughter's chamber to pass without arresting 
him — perhaps at her entreaty to avoid all scandal." 

" No, Monsieur President," protested the young 
man. " You forget that, stunned by the attack 
made on her, Mademoiselle Stangerson was not in 
a condition to have made such an appeal. Nor 
could she have locked and bolted herself in her 
room. You must also remember that Monsieur 
Stangerson has sworn that the door was not open." 

" That, however, is the only way in which it can 
be explained. The Yellow Room was as closely 
shut as an iron safe. To use your own expression, 
it was impossible for the murderer to make his 
escape either naturally or supernaturally. When 
the room was broken into he was not there! He 
must, therefore, have escaped." 

" That does not follow." 

" What do you mean? " 

" There was no need for him to escape — if he 
was not there ! " 

"Not there!" 

" Evidently, not. He could not have been there, 
if he were not found there." 


" But, what about the evidences of his pres* 
ence ? " asked the President. 

" That, Monsieur President, is where we have 
taken hold of the wrong end. From the time Made- 
moiselle Stangerson shut herself in her room to the 
time her door was burst open, it was impossible 
for the murderer to escape. He was not found 
because he was not there during that time." 

"But the evidences?" 

" They have led us astray. In reasoning on 
this mystery we must not take them to mean what 
they apparently mean. Why do we conclude the 
murderer was there? — Because he left his tracks 
in the room? Good! But may he not have been 
there before the room was locked. Nay, he must 
have been there before ! Let us look into the mat- 
ter of these traces and see if they do not point to 
my conclusion. 

"After the publication of the article in the 
* Matin ' and my conversation with the examin- 
ing magistrate on the journey from Paris to 
Epinay-sur-Orge, I was certain that The Yellow 
Room had been hermetically sealed, so to speak, 
and that consequently the murderer had escaped 
before Mademoiselle Stangerson had gone into her 
chamber at midnight. 

" At the time I was much puzzled. Mademoiselle ' 
Stangerson could not have been her own murderer, 
since the evidences pointed to some other person. 
The assassin, then, had come before. If that were 
so, how was it that Mademoiselle had been attacked 
after? or rather, that she appeared to have been 
attacked after? It was necessary for me to recon- 


struct the occurrence and make of it two phases — 
each separated from the other, in time, by the space 
of several hours. One phase in which Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson had really been attacked — the 
other phase in which those who heard her cries 
thought she was being attacked. I had not then 
examined The Yellow Room. What were the marks 
on Mademoiselle Stangerson? There were marks 
of strangulation and the wound from a hard blow 
on the temple. The marks of strangulation did not 
interest me much; they might have been made be- 
fore, and Mademoiselle Stangerson could have 
concealed them by a collarette, or any similar 
article of apparel. I had to suppose this the mo- 
ment I was compelled to reconstruct the occurrence 
by two phases. Mademoiselle Stangerson had, no 
doubt, her own reasons for so doing, since she had 
told her father nothing of it, and had made it 
understood to the examining magistrate that the 
attack had taken place in the night, during the sec- 
ond phase. She was forced to say that, otherwise 
her father would have questioned her as to her 
reason for having said nothing about it. 

" But I could not explain the blow on the temple. 
I understood it even less when I learned that the 
mutton-bone had been found in her room. She 
could not hide the fact that she had been struck 
on the head, and yet that wound appeared evi- 
dently to have been inflicted during the first phase, 
since it required the presence of the murderer! I 
thought Mademoiselle Stangerson had hidden the 
wound by arranging her hair in bands on her 



" As to the mark of the hand on the wall, that 
had evidently been made during the first phase — 
when the murderer was really there. All the traces 
of his presence had naturally been left during the 
first phase ; the mutton-bone, the black footprints, 
the Basque cap, the handkerchief, the blood on the 
wall, on the door, and on the floor. If those traces 
were still all there, they showed that Mademoiselle 
Stangerson — who desired that nothing should be 
known — had not yet had time to clear them 
away. This led me to the conclusion that the two 
phases had taken place one shortly after the other. 
She had not had the opportunity, after leaving her 
room and going back to the laboratory to her 
father, to get back again to her room and put it in 
order. Her father was all the time with her, work- 
ing. So that after the first phase she did not re- 
enter her chamber till midnight. Daddy Jacques 
was there at ten o'clock, as he was every night; 
but he went in merely to close the blinds and light 
the night-light. Owing to her disturbed state of 
mind she had forgotten that Daddy Jacques would 
go into her room and had begged him not to trouble 
himself. All this was set forth in the article in the 
* Matin.' Daddy Jacques did go, however, and, in 
the dim light of the room, saw nothing. 

" Mademoiselle Stangerson must have lived some 
anxious moments while Daddy Jacques was absent ; 
but I think she was not aware that so many evi- 
dences had been left. After she had been attacked 
she had only time to hide the traces of the man's 
fingers on her neck and to hurry to the laboratory. 
Had she known of the bone, the cap, and the hand- 


kerchief , she would have made away with them after 
she had gone back to her chamber at midnight. She 
did not see them, and undressed by the uncertain 
glimmer of the night light. She went to bed, worn- 
out by anxiety and fear — a fear that had made 
her remain in the laboratory as late as possible. 

" My reasoning had thus brought me to the 
second phase of the tragedy, when Mademoiselle 
Stangerson was alone in the room. I had now to 
explain the revolver shots fired during the second 
phase. Cries of 'Help! — Murder!' had been 
heard. How to explain these? As to the cries, I 
was in no difficulty ; since she was alone in her room 
these could result from nightmare only. My ex- 
planation of the struggle and noise that were heard 
is simply that in her nightmare she was haunted by 
the terrible experience she had passed through in 
the afternoon. In her dream she sees the murderer 
about to spring upon her and she cries, ' Help ! 
Murder ! ' Her hand wildly seeks the revolver she 
had placed within her reach on the night-table by 
the side of her bed, but her hand, striking the table, 
overturns it, and the revolver, falling to the floor, 
discharges itself, the bullet lodging in the ceiling. 
I knew from the first that the bullet in the ceiling 
must have resulted from an accident. Its very posi- 
tion suggested an accident to my mind, and so fell 
in with my theory of a nightmare. I no longer 
doubted that the attack had taken place before 
Mademoiselle had retired for the night. After 
wakening from her frightful dream and crying 
aloud for help, she had fainted. 

a My theory, based on the evidence of the shots 


that were heard at midnight, demanded two shots 
— one which wounded the murderer at the time of 
his attack, and one fired at the time of the night- 
mare. The evidence given by the Berniers before 
the examining magistrate was to the effect that 
only one shot had been heard. Monsieur Stanger- 
son testified to hearing a dull sound first followed 
by a sharp ringing sound. The dull sound I ex- 
plained by the falling of the marble-topped table; 
the ringing sound was the shot from the revolver. 
I was now convinced I was right. The shot that 
had wounded the hand of the murderer and had 
caused it to bleed so that he left the bloody im- 
print on the wall was fired by Mademoiselle in self- 
defence, before the second phase, when she had 
been really attacked. The shot in the ceiling 
which the Berniers heard was the accidental shot 
during the nightmare. 

" I had now to explain the wound on the temple. 
It was not severe enough to have been made by 
means of the mutton-bone, and Mademoiselle had 
not attempted to hide it. It must have been made 
during the second phase. It was to find this out 
that I went to The Yellow Room, and I obtained 
my answer there." 

Rouletabille drew a piece of white folded paper 
from his pocket, and drew out of it an almost in- 
visible object which he held between his thumb and 

" This, Monsieur President," he said, " is a 

hair — a blond hair stained with blood ; — it is a 

hair from the head of Mademoiselle Stangerson. 

I found it sticking to one of the corners of the 

19 289 


overturned table. The corner of the table was 
itself stained with blood — a tiny stain — hardly 
visible ; but it told me that, on rising from her bed, 
Mademoiselle Stangerson had fallen heavily and 
had struck her head on the corner of its marble top. 

" I had still to learn, in addition to the name 
of the assassin, which I did later, the time of the 
original attack. I learned this from the examina- 
tion of Mademoiselle Stangerson and her father, 
though the answers given by the former were well 
calculated to deceive the examining magistrate. 
Mademoiselle Stangerson had stated very minutely 
how she had spent the whole of her time that day. 
We established the fact that the murderer had in- 
troduced himself into the pavilion between five and 
six o'clock. At a quarter past six the professor 
and his daughter had resumed their work. At five 
the professor had been with his daughter, and since 
the attack took place in the professor's absence 
from his daughter, I had to find out just when 
he left her. The professor had stated that at the 
time when he and his daughter were about to re- 
enter the laboratory he was met by the keeper and 
held in conversation about the cutting of some 
wood and the poachers. Mademoiselle Stangerson 
was not with him then since the professor said: 
* I left the keeper and re j oined my daughter who 
was at work in the laboratory/ 

" It was during that short interval of time that 
the tragedy took place. That is certain. In my 
mind's eye I saw Mademoiselle Stangerson re-enter 
the pavilion, go to her room to take off her hat, 
and find herself faced by the murderer. He had 


been in the pavilion for some time waiting for her. 
He had arranged to pass the whole night there. 
He had taken off Daddy Jacques's boots ; he had 
removed the papers from the cabinet; and had 
then slipped under the bed. Finding the time long, 
N he had risen, gone again into the laboratory, then 
'into the vestibule, looked into the garden, and had 
seen, coming towards the pavilion, Mademoiselle 
Stangerson — alone. He would never have dared 
to attack her at that hour, if he had not found her 
alone. His mind was made up. He would be more 
at ease alone with Mademoiselle Stangerson in the 
pavilion, than he would have been in the middle of 
the night, with Daddy Jacques sleeping in the 
attic. So he shut the vestibule window. That ex- 
plains why neither Monsieur Stangerson, nor the 
keeper, who were at some distance from the pa- 
vilion, had heard the revolver shot. 

" Then he went back to The Yellow Room. Mad- 
emoiselle Stangerson came in. What passed must 
have taken place very quickly. Mademoiselle tried 
to call for help ; but the man had seized her by the 
throat. Her hand had sought and grasped the 
revolver which she had been keeping in the drawer 
of her night-table, since she had come to fear the 
threats of her pursuer. The murderer was about 
to strike her on the head with the mutton-bone — 
a terrible weapon in the hands of a Larsan or Ball- 
meyer ; but she fired in time, and the shot wounded 
the hand that held the weapon. The bone fell to 
the floor covered with the blood of the murderer, 
who staggered, clutched at the wall for support — 
imprinting on it the red marks — and, fearing 
another bullet, fled. 



" She saw him pass through the laboratory, and 
listened. He was long at the window. At length 
he jumped from it. She flew to it and shut it. 
The danger past, all her thoughts were of her 
father. Had he either seen or heard? At any cost 
to herself she must keep this from him. Thus when 
Monsieur Stangerson returned, he found the door 
of The Yellow Room closed, and his daughter in 
the laboratory, bending over her desk, at work ! " 

Turning towards Monsieur Darzac, Rouletabille 
cried: — 

" You know the truth ! Tell us, then, if that is 
not how things happened." 

" I don't know anything about it," replied Mon- 
sieur Darzac. 

" I admire you for your silence," said Rouleta- 
bille, " but if Mademoiselle Stangerson knew of 
your danger, she would release you from your oath. 
She would beg of you to tell all she has confided 
to you. She would be here to defend you ! " 

Monsieur Darzac made no movement, nor uttered 
a word. He looked at Rouletabille sadly. 

" However," said the young reporter, " since 
Mademoiselle is not here, I must do it myself. But, 
believe me, Monsieur Darzac, the only means to 
save Mademoiselle Stangerson and restore her to 
her reason, is to secure your acquittal." 

" What is this secret motive that compels Made- 
moiselle Stangerson to hide her knowledge from 
her father? " asked the President. 

" That, Monsieur, I do not know," said Rouleta- 
bille. " It is no business of mine." 

The President turning to Monsieur Darzac en- 
deavoured to induce him to tell what he knew. 


" Do you still refuse, Monsieur, to tell us how 
you employed your time during the attempts on 
the life of Mademoiselle Stangerson? " 

" I cannot tell you anything, Monsieur." 

The President turned to Rouletabille as if ap- 
pealing for an explanation. 

"We must assume, Monsieur President, that 
Monsieur Robert Darzac's absensions are closely 
connected with Mademoiselle Stangerson's secret, 
and that Monsieur Darzac feels himself in honour 
bound to remain silent. It may be that Larsan, 
who, since his three attempts, has had everything 
in training to cast suspicion on Monsieur Darzac, 
had fixed on just those occasions for a meeting with 
Monsieur Darzac at a spot most compromising. 
Larsan is cunning enough to have done that." 

The President seemed partly convinced, but still 
curious, he asked: 

" But what is this secret of Mademoiselle 
Stangerson ? " 

" That I cannot tell you," said Rouletabille. " I 
think, however, you know enough now to acquit 
Monsieur Robert Darzac! Unless Larsan should 
return, and I don't think he wriZI," he added, with a 

" One question more," said the President. " Ad- 
mitting your explanation, we know that Larsan 
wished to turn suspicion on Monsieur Robert Dar- 
zac, but why should he throw suspicion on Daddy 
Jacques also ? " 

" There came in the professional detective, Mon- 
sieur, who proves himself an unraveller of mys- 
teries, by annihilating the very proofs he had ac- 


cumulated. He 's a very cunning man, and a similar 
trick had often enabled him to turn suspicion from 
himself. He proved the innocence of one before 
accusing the other. You can easily believe, Mon- 
sieur, that so complicated a scheme as this must 
have been long and carefully thought out in ad- 
vance by Larsan. I can tell you that he had long 
been engaged on its elaboration. If you care to 
learn how he had gathered information, you will 
find that he had, on one occasion, disguised him- 
self as the commissionaire between the ' Laboratory 
of the Surete ' and Monsieur Stangerson, of whom 

* experiments ' were demanded. In this way he 
had been able before the crime, on two occasions to 
take stock of the pavilion. He had * made up ' so 
that Daddy Jacques had not recognised him. And 
yet Larsan had found the opportunity to rob the 
old man of a pair of old boots and a cast-off Basque 
cap, which the servant had tied up in a handker- 
chief, with the intention of carrying them to a 
friend, a charcoal-burner on the road to Epinay. 
When the crime was discovered, Daddy Jacques 
had immediately recognised these objects as his. 
They were extremely compromising, which explains 
his distress at the time when we spoke to him about 
them. Larsan confessed it all to me. He is an 
artist at the game. He did a similar thing in the 
affair of the ' Credit Universel,' and in that of the 

* Gold Ingots of the Mint.' Both these cases should 
be revised. Since Ballmeyer or Larsan has been in 
the Surety a number of innocent persons have been 
sent to prison." 



In Which it is Proved That One Does not 
Always Think of Everything 

GREAT excitement prevailed when Rouletabille 
had finished. The court-room became agi- 
tated with the murmurings of suppressed applause. 
Maitre Henri Robert called for an adjournment of 
the trial and was supported in his motion by the 
public prosecutor himself. The case was ad- 
journed. The next day Monsieur Robert Darzac 
was released on bail, while Daddy Jacques received 
the immediate benefit of " a no cause for action." 
Search was everywhere made for Frederic Larsan, 
but in vain. Monsieur Darzac finally escaped the 
awful calamity which, at one time, had threatened 
him. After a visit to Mademoiselle Stangerson, he 
was led to hope that she might, by careful nursing, 
one day recover her reason. 

Rouletabille, naturally, became the " man of the 
hour." On leaving the Palais de Justice, the 
crowd bore him aloft in triumph. The press of the 
whole world published his exploits and his photo- 
graph. He, who had interviewed so many illus- 
trious personages, had himself become illustrious 
and was interviewed in his turn. I am glad to say 
that the enormous success in no way turned his 



We left Versailles together, after having dined 
at " The Dog That Smokes." In the train I put 
a number of questions to him which, during our 
meal, had been on the tip of my tongue, but which 
I had refrained from uttering, knowing he did not 
like to talk " shop " while eating. 

" My friend," I said, " that Larsan case is won- 
derful. It is worthy of you." 

He begged me to say no more, and humorously 
pretended an anxiety for me should I give way 
to silly praise of him because of a personal admira- 
tion for his ability. 

" I '11 come to the point, then," I said, not a 
little nettled. " I am still in the dark as to your 
reason for going to America. When you left the 
Glandier you had found out, if I rightly under- 
stand, all about Frederic Larsan ; you had discov- 
ered the exact way he had attempted the murder? " 

" Quite so. And you," he said, turning the con- 
versation, " did you suspect nothing? " 


"It's incredible!" 

"I don't see how I could have suspected any- 
thing. You took great pains to conceal your 
thoughts from me. Had you already suspected 
Larsan when you sent for me to bring the 

" Yes ! I had come to that conclusion through 
the incident of the * inexplicable gallery.' Lar- 
san's return to Mademoiselle Stangerson's room, 
however, had not then been cleared up by the eye- 
glasses. My suspicions were the outcome of my 
reasoning only ; and the idea of Larsan being the 


murderer seemed so extraordinary that I resolved 
to wait for actual evidence before venturing to aot. 
Nevertheless, the suspicion worried me, and I some- 
times spoke to the detective in a way that ought 
to have opened your eyes. I spoke disparagingly 
of his methods. But until I found the eye-glasses 
I could but look upon my suspicion of him in the 
light of an absurd hypothesis only. You can im- 
agine my elation after I had explained Larsan's 
movements. I remember well rushing into my room 
like a madman and crying to you : * I '11 get the 
better of the great Fred. I 'U get the better of 
him in a way that will make a sensation ! ' 

" I was then thinking of Larsan, the murderer. 
It was that same evening that Darzac begged me 
to watch over Mademoiselle Stangerson. I made 
no efforts until after we had dined with Larsan, 
until ten o'clock. He was right there before me, 
and I could afford to wait. You ought to have 
suspected, because when we were talking of the 
murderer's arrival, I said to you : ' 1 am quite 
sure Larsan will be here to-night.' 

" But one important point escaped us both. 
It was one which ought to have opened our eyes to 
Larsan. Do you remember the bamboo cane? I 
was surprised to find Larsan had made no use of 
that evidence against Robert Darzac. Had it not 
been purchased by a man whose description tallied 
exactly with that of Darzac? Well, just before I 
saw him off at the train, after the recess during the 
trial, I asked him why he hadn't used the cane 
evidence. He told me he had never had any inten- 
tion of doing so ; that our discovery of it in the 


little inn at Epinay had much embarrassed him. 
If you will remember, he told us then that the cane 
had been given him in London. Why did we not 
immediately say to ourselves : * Fred is lying. He 
could not have had this cane in London. He was 
not in London. He bought it in Paris'? Then 
you found out, on inquiry at Cassette's, that the 
cane had been bought by a person dressed very 
like Robert Darzac, though, as we learned later, 
from Darzac himself, it was not he who had made 
the purchase. Couple this with the fact we already 
knew, from the letter at the poste restante, that 
there was actually a man in Paris who was pass- 
ing as Robert Darzac, why did we not imme- 
diately fix on Fred himself? 

"Of course, his position at the Surete was against 
us ; but when we saw the evident eagerness on his 
part to find convicting evidence against Darzac, 
nay, even the passion he displayed in his pursuit 
of the man, the lie about the cane should have had 
a new meaning for us. If you ask why Larsan 
bought the cane, if he had no intention of manu- 
facturing evidence against Darzac by means of it, 
the answer is quite simple. He had been wounded 
in the hand by Mademoiselle Stangerson, so that 
the cane was useful to enable him to close his hand 
in carrying it. You remember I noticed that he 
always carried it? 

" All these details came back to my mind when 
I had once fixed on Larsan as the criminal. But 
they were too late then to be of any use to me. On 
the evening when he pretended to be drugged I 
looked at his hand and saw a thin silk bandage 


covering the signs of a slight healing wound. Had 
we taken a quicker initiative at the time Larsan 
told us that lie about the cane, I am certain he 
would have gone off, to avoid suspicion. All the 
same, we worried Larsan or Ballmeyer without our 
knowing it." 

" But," I interrupted, " if Larsan had no inten- 
tion of using the cane as evidence against Darzac, 
why had he made himself up to look like the man 
when he went in to buy it? " 

" He had not specially * made up * as Darzac to 
buy the cane; he had come straight to Cassette's 
immediately after he had attacked Mademoiselle 
Stangerson. His wound was troubling him and, 
as he was passing along the Avenue de POpera, 
the idea of the cane came to his mind and he acted 
on it. It was then eight o'clock. And I, who had 
hit upon the very hour of the occurrence of the 
tragedy, almost convinced that Darzac was not the 
criminal, and knowing of the cane, I still never 
suspected Larsan. There are times ..." 

" There are times," I said, " when the greatest 
intellects ..." Rouletabille shut my mouth. I 
still continued to joke him, but, finding he did not 
reply, I saw he was no longer paying any atten- 
tion to what I was saying. I found he was fast 



The Mystery of Mademoiselle Stangerson 

DURING the days that followed I had several 
opportunities to question him as to his 
reason for his voyage to America, but I obtained 
no more precise answers than he had given me on 
the evening of the adjournment of the trial, when 
we were on the train for Paris. One day, however, 
on my still pressing him, he said: 

M Can't you understand that I had to know Lar- 
san's true personality? " 

u No doubt," I said, " but why did you go to 
America to find that out? " 

He sat smoking his pipe, and made no further 
reply. I began to see that I was touching on the 
secret that concerned Mademoiselle Stangerson. 
Rouletabille evidently had found it necessary to go 
to America to find out what the mysterious tie was 
that bound her to Larsan by so strange and terrible 
a bond. In America he had learned who Larsan 
was and had obtained information which closed his 
mouth. He had been to Philadelphia. 

And now, what was this mystery which held 
Mademoiselle Stangerson and Monsieur Robert 
Darzac in so inexplicable a silence? After so many 
years and the publicity given the case by a curious 
and shameless press ; now that Monsieur Stanger- 
son knows all and has forgiven all ; all may be told. 


In every phase of this remarkable story Mademoi- 
selle Stangerson had always been the sufferer. 

The beginning dates from the time when, as a 
young girl, she was living with her father in Phila- 
delphia. A visitor at the house, a Frenchman, had 
succeeded by his wit, grace and persistent atten- 
tion, in gaining her affections. He was said to be 
rich and had asked her of her father. Monsieur 
Stangerson, on making inquiries as to Monsieur 
Jean Roussel, found that the man was a swindler 
and an adventurer. Jean Roussel was but an- 
other of the many names under which the notorious 
Ballmeyer, a fugitive from France, tried to hide 
himself. Monsieur Stangerson did not know of his 
identity with Ballmeyer ; he learned that the man 
was simply undesirable for his daughter. He not 
only refused to give his consent to the marriage but 
denied him admission into the house. Mathilde 
Stangerson, however, had fallen in love. To her 
Jean Roussel was everything that her love painted 
him. She was indignant at her father's attitude, 
and did not conceal her feelings. Her father sent 
her to stay with an aunt in Cincinnati. There she 
was joined by Jean Roussel and, in spite of the 
reverence she felt for her father, ran away with 
him to get married. 

They went to Louisville and lived there for some 
time. One morning, however, a knock came at the 
door of the house in which they were and the police 
entered to arrest Jean Roussel. It was then that 
Mathilde Stangerson, or Roussel, learned that 
her husband was no other than the notorious 
Ballmeyer ! 



The young woman in her despair tried to com- 
mit suicide. She failed in this, and was forced to 
rejoin her aunt at Cincinnati. The old lady was 
overj oyed to see her again. She had been anxiously 
searching for her and had not dared to tell Mon- 
sieur Stangerson of her disappearance. Mathilde 
swore her to secrecy, so that her father should not 
know she had been away. A month later, Made- 
moiselle Stangerson returned to her father, re- 
pentant, her heart dead within her, hoping only 
one thing : that she would never again see her hus- 
band, the horrible Ballmeyer. A report was 
spread, a few weeks later, that he was dead, and 
she now determined to atone for her disobedience 
by a life of labour and devotion for her father. 
And she kept her word. 

All this she had confessed to Robert Darzac, and, 
believing Ballmeyer dead, had given herself to the 
joy of a union with him. But fate had resuscitated 
Jean Roussel — the Ballmeyer of her youth. He 
had taken steps to let her know that he would 
never allow her to marry Darzac — that he still 
loved her. 

Mademoiselle Stangerson never for one moment 
hesitated to confide in Monsieur Darzac. She 
showed him the letter in which Jean Roussel asked 
her to recall the first hours of their union in their 
beautiful and charming Louisville home. " The 
presbytery has lost nothing of its charm, nor the 
garden its brightness," he had written. The scoun- 
drel pretended to be rich and claimed the right of 
taking her back to Louisville. She had told Dar- 
zac that if her father should know of her dis- 


honour , she would kill herself. Monsieur Darzac 
had sworn to silence her persecutor, even if he had 
to kill him. He was outwitted and would have 
succumbed had it not been for the genius of 

Mademoiselle Stangerson was herself helpless in ; 
the hands of such a villain. She had tried to kill ' 
him when he had first threatened and then attacked 
her in The Yellow Room. She had, unfortunately, 
failed, and felt herself condemned to be for ever at 
the mercy of this unscrupulous wretch who was 
continually demanding her presence at clandestine 
interviews. When he sent her the letter through 
the Post Office, asking her to meet him, she had 
refused. The result of her refusal was the tragedy 
of The Yellow Room. The second time he wrote 
asking for a meeting, the letter reaching her in 
her sick chamber, she had avoided him by sleeping 
with her women. In that letter the scoundrel had 
warned her that, since she was too ill to come to 
him, he would come to her, and that he would be 
in her chamber at a particular hour on a particular 
night. Knowing that she had everything to fear 
from Ballmeyer, she had left her chamber on that 
night. It was then that the incident of the " in- 
explicable gallery" occurred. 

The third time she had determined to keep the 
appointment. He asked for it in the letter he had 
written in her own room, on the night of the in- 
cident in the gallery, which he left on her desk. 
In that letter he threatened to burn her father's 
papers if she did not meet him. It was to rescue 
these papers that she made up her mind to see him. 


She did not for one moment doubt that the wretch 
would carry out his threat if she persisted in avoid- 
ing him, and in that case the labours of her father's 
lifetime would be for ever lost. Since the meeting 
was thus inevitable, she resolved to see her husband 
and appeal to his better nature. It was for this in- 
terview that she had prepared herself on the night 
the keeper was killed. They did meet, and what 
passed between them may be imagined. He insisted 
that she renounce Darzac. She, on her part, 
affirmed her love for him. He stabbed her in his 
anger, determined to convict Darzac of the crime. 
As Larsan he could do it, and had so managed 
things that Darzac could never explain how he had 
employed the time of his absence from the chateau. 
Ballmeyer's precautions were most cunningly taken. 

Larsan had threatened Darzac as he had threat- 
ened Mathilde — with the same weapon, and the 
same threats. He wrote Darzac urgent letters, de- 
claring himself ready to deliver up the letters that 
had passed between him and his wife, and to leave 
them for ever, if he would pay him his price. He 
asked Darzac to meet him for the purpose of ar- 
ranging the matter, appointing the time when Lar- 
san would be with Mademoiselle Stangerson. When 
Darzac went to Epinay, expecting to find Ball- 
meyer or Larsan there, he was met by an accom- 
plice of Larsan's, and kept waiting until such 
time as the " coincidence " could be established. 

It was all done with Machiavellian cunning; 
but Ballmeyer had reckoned without Joseph 



Now that the Mystery of The Yellow Room has 
been cleared up, this is not the time to tell of Rou- 
letabille's adventures in America. Knowing the 
young reporter as we do, we can understand with 
what acumen he had traced, step by step, the story 
of Mathilde Stangerson and Jean Roussel. At 
Philadelphia he had quickly informed himself as 
to Arthur William Ranee. There he learned of 
Ranee's act of devotion and the reward he thought 
himself entitled to for it. A rumour of his mar- 
riage with Mademoiselle Stangerson had once found 
its way into the drawing-rooms of Philadelphia. 
He also learned of Ranee's continued attentions to 
her and his importunities for her hand. He had 
taken to drink, he had said, to drown his grief 
at his unrequited love. It can now be under- 
stood why Rouletabille had shown so marked a 
coolness of demeanour towards Ranee when they 
met in the witnesses' room, on the day of the 

The strange Roussel-Stangerson mystery had 
now been laid bare. Who was this Jean Roussel? 
Rouletabille had traced him from Philadelphia to 
Cincinnati. In Cincinnati he became acquainted 
with the old aunt, and had found means to open her 
mouth. The story of Ballmeyer's arrest threw the 
right light on the whole story. He visited the 
" presbytery " — a small and pretty dwelling in 
the old colonial style — which had, indeed, " lost 
nothing of its charm." Then, abandoning his pur- 
suit of traces of Mademoiselle Stangerson, he took 
up those of Ballmeyer. He followed them from 
prison to prison, from crime to crime. Finally, 
80 305 


as he was about leaving for Europe, he learned in 
New York that Ballmeyer had, five years before, 
embarked for France with some valuable papers 
belonging to a merchant of New Orleans whom he 
had murdered. 

And yet the whole of this mystery has not 
been revealed. Mademoiselle Stangerson had a 
child, by her husband, — a son. The infant was 
born in the old aunt's house. No one knew of 
it, so well had the aunt managed to conceal the 

What became of that son? — That is another 
story which, so far, I am not permitted to 

About two months after these events, I came 
upon Rouletabille sitting on a bench in the Palais 
de Justice, looking very depressed. 

44 What 's the matter, old man ? " I asked. 44 You 
are looking very downcast. How are your friends 
getting on? " 

44 Apart from you," he said, 44 1 have no 

44 1 hope that Monsieur Darzac — " 

44 No doubt." 

44 And Mademoiselle Stangerson — How is 
she? " 

44 Better — much better." 

44 Then you ought not to be sad." 

44 1 am sad," he said, 44 because I am thinking of 
the perfume of the lady in black — " 

44 The perfume of the lady in black I — I have 


heard you often refer to it. Tell me why it 
troubles you." 

" Perhaps — some day ; some day," said Rou- 

And he heaved a profound sigh. 

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